A senior Facebook executive admitted Russian agents used its Messenger platform and that the company is still determining, alongside federal investigators, how Russian agents may have tried to influence the 2016 US presidential election, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“My understanding is that it’s a very small number,” said David Marcus, Vice President, Facebook Messenger at The Wall Street Journal’s D.Live conference in Laguna Beach, California. “The way that the platform was used is still being investigated right now on the Messenger side of things, but traditionally if you’re a page, for instance, you cannot message people. So people have to message you,” Marcus added.
The senior executive argued that the work done by Facebook around the world was being wrongly “overshadowed” by the Russia “narrative”. Reports earlier found that some Russian-linked accounts used a number of tools including advertisements and unpaid posts and events to gain a following among Facebook users and amplify tension over topics such as immigration and race during the polls, according to Recode. ALSO READ: Facebook blocks researcher from viewing Russian ads
Most followers never suspected that people with Russian ties were running the accounts, and several of the accounts gained more than half a million followers. Russia has denied influencing the election. ALSO READ: 10 million people in the US saw Russian election ads: Facebook