Facebook Didn’t Find Russia’s Trace in Active Pro-Brexit Campaigning

Facebook Didn’t Find Russia’s Trace in Active Pro-Brexit Campaigning
REUTERS/ Hannah Mckay/FileEurope21:11 28.02.2018(updated 21:23 28.02.2018) Get short URL



The report, released early February by the UK-based communications agency 89up, accused Russian media, namely RT and Sputnik, of publishing 261 media articles on the EU referendum in the United Kingdom, or with a strong anti-EU sentiment which mentioned Brexit in 2016 ahead of the vote.

Facebook experts did not find any indications of active advertising in the social networks initiated by Russia during the referendum on Brexit in the UK during the investigation, a letter from the representative of the British branch of the company, Simon Milner, addressed to the head of the parliamentary committee on digital culture, media and sport Damian Collins, says.

“The investigative team did not find additional and coordinated Russian-linked accounts or pages supplying advertising in the UK within the framework of the referendum on the EU during the relevant period, in addition to the minimal activity that we reported earlier,” Milner’s letter reads.

Collins noted that the deputies asked Facebook for further explanations to the letter.

Previously, YouTube’s government relations director, Juniper Downs, said that the company did not find evidence indicating any Russian interference in the referendum on the UK’s exit from the European Union (Brexit).    

The UK Version of “Russia’s Probe”

The investigation was caused by the release of UK-based communications agency 89up’s reports, released in early Fabruary and accusing Russian media of a strong anti-EU sentiment previously the Brexit referendum.

The social reach of these outlets was “134 million potential impressions, in comparison with a total social reach of just 33 million and 11 million potential impressions for all content shared from the Vote Leave website and Leave.EU website respectively.” The company also mentioned the alleged sum of the Russian media’s interference in the EU referendum — up to 4 million pounds ($5.54 million).

READ MORE: Sputnik Editor-in-Chief Mocks YouTube’s ‘Made in Russia’ Caption on RT Materials

Following the report, Twitter, Facebook and Google have been requested to find out whether any foreign interference took place during the Brexit referendum as a part of the UK Electoral Commission’s probe launched in November.

In January, Twitter said that it did not have any evidence that would prove Russia’s alleged meddling in the campaign ahead of referendum, while in December Facebook said that St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, which is suspected of interfering in the 2016 US election, spent only $0.97 on the referendum-related advertisements delivered to audiences in the United Kingdom.

Russia has repeatedly denied interfering in foreign elections saying such actions run counter to the principles and conduct of Russian foreign policy.