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Facebook : admits it was used by 'malicious actors' during US election

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04/28/2017 | 01:33pm CEST

Facebook has said its data "does not contradict" the US Director of National Intelligence's conclusion that Russia was behind efforts to interfere with the US election.

The social media giant released a report by its security team in which it admitted that foreign governments and organisations are using its platform to attempt to manipulate public opinion in other countries.

The admission comes just five months after chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said the claim that fake news on Facebook had influenced the US election was "a pretty crazy idea".

But now the company says it is taking new measures to combat what it calls "information operations" that it said were used during both the US and French presidential election campaigns.

The report uses the US election as a "case study" and outlines several situations that fit the pattern of "information operations".

It described attempts by "malicious actors" to spread misinformation as well-funded and subtle.

While it did not mention Russia by name in its report, it said: "Our data does not contradict the attribution provided by the US Director of National Intelligence in the report dated January 6, 2017".

The Director of National Intelligence's report concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign to influence the US presidential election and "aspired to help" Donald Trump win.

Facebook's security report said during the election campaign fake profiles were set up to spread stolen emails and other documents.

Social media accounts were then created to amplify the information and make sure it reached as many people as possible.

"From there, organic proliferation of the messaging and data through authentic peer groups and networks was inevitable," the report said.

Facebook said that amplification techniques included repeated posting of the same material, coordinated "likes" to boost the prominence of key postings and groups camouflaging propaganda by also posting legitimate items.

But the report included a line that said: "...the reach of known operations during the US election of 2016 was statistically very small compared to overall engagement on political issues."

Facebook said its security team would tackle the problem by suspending or deleting false accounts which would be identified using a combination of machine learning and intelligence agency-level analysis.

The social media firm suspended 30,000 accounts in France ahead of voting in the first round of the presidential election last Sunday in an attempt to prevent the problem.

(c) Sky News 2017: <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/facebook-admits-it-was-used-by-malicious-actors-during-us-election-10853933">Facebook admits it was used by 'malicious actors' during US election</a>, source Sky News

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Financials ($)
Sales 2017 37 926 M
EBIT 2017 21 260 M
Net income 2017 12 864 M
Finance 2017 35 021 M
Yield 2017 -
P/E ratio 2017 33,34
P/E ratio 2018 26,11
EV / Sales 2017 10,3x
EV / Sales 2018 7,79x
Capitalization 426 850 M
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Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 46
Average target price 161 $
Spread / Average Target 9,2%
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NameTitle
Mark Elliot Zuckerberg Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Sheryl Kara Sandberg Chief Operating Officer & Director
David M. Wehner Chief Financial Officer
Michael Todd Schroepfer Chief Technology Officer
Atish Banerjea Chief Information Officer
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