The Culture Committee chairman has written to Facebook asking for information on advertising and pages paid for by “Russian-linked” accounts that took place around the Brexit and general election votes.
Damian Collins MP has made the request as part of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s ongoing inquiry into “fake news”, which became a particular feature of last year’s US presidential election.
In the letter, addressed to Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerburg, Collins said: “Part of this inquiry will focus on the role of foreign actors abusing platforms such as yours to interfere in the political discourse of other nations.
“It is for this reason that I am requesting that Facebook provides to my committee details relating to any adverts and pages paid for, or set up by, Russian-linked accounts.”
The specific detail requested included:
- Examples of all adverts purchased by Russian-linked accounts
- Examples of all pages set up by Russian-linked accounts
- Information regarding the targeting of these adverts and pages
- How much money was paid for these adverts or to promote these pages
- How many times these adverts were viewed
- How many times these pages were viewed
It is understood that similar evidence on the last US presidential election has already been supplied by Facebook to several US Senate committees, including the Senate Intelligence Committee.
A hearing with legal representatives from Facebook, Twitter and Google is expected to take place in Washington DC on 1 November.
Culture Secretary Karen Bradley told the committee earlier this month that using “sledgehammer” legislation to declare the likes of Facebook to be publishers could impact on freedom of speech and civil liberties”.
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