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Were You a Victim of Russian Propaganda? Facebook Will Assist You Figure Out

Have you ever speculated whether you have decayed prey to a Russian misinformation campaign? Soon, you will be capable to figure out.

Facebook said on Wednesday that it planned to roll out a new tool later this year to assist figure out if that new page you followed on Facebook or account you added on Instagram was secretly being run by Russia’s troll army.

The tool, which you will find through a recently created portal on your Facebook or Instagram page, is component of an effort to “protect our platforms and the people who use them from bad actors who try to blunt our democracy,” Facebook said in a blog post.

The social network is trying to allay critics who said Facebook did not do enough to stop Russian propaganda from growing on its platform ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The social media giant, along with Twitter and Google, were seared by lawmakers on Capitol Hill several weeks ago about their role in the election and the unplanned consequences of their technology.

Facebook has said that 29 million Americans saw content made by Russian agents directly in their news feed, while 126 million shared posts that were shared or linked to by their friends, with that number rising to approximately 150 million when including Instagram. On Election Day itself, about 10 million people saw ads purchased by the Kremlin on Facebook, the company has said.

Andy Stone, an agent for Facebook, said the company assumed the tool would assist Americans who liked a page or followed an account created by a Russian agent, though he approved that it stopped short of being capable to assist the much wider circle of people who viewed Russian propaganda shared by their friends.

Facebook executives already said they doubted whether they had the capability to reach out to every single American who was bare to Russian government-backed propaganda.

“It’s a much more challenging problem to identify and notify reliably people who may have been bare to this content on a personal basis,” Colin Stretch, the company’s general counsel, said during the arrival before Congress.

For now, the tool may only be capable to assist you if you chose to follow one of the accounts or pages set up by Russian spokespersons on Instagram or Facebook. According to experts who have studied disinformation campaigns, that accounts for only a tiny sliver of the people Facebook estimate were affected by content Russian posted online.

“People are much more affected by content shared by their friends, they are more likely to click on it and spend time reading it and considering its merits when a believed friend shares it on their Facebook page,” said Jonathon Morgan, chief executive of New Knowledge, which tracks the spread of misinformation online. “People don’t know the amount to which they are influenced by what their trusted social circles post online.”

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