Sep 12, 2017 - Technology

Kremlin-linked operatives used Facebook to organize political events in U.S.

Jeff Chiu / AP

Russian operatives with reported links to the Russian government remotely organized anti-immigrant rallies in the U.S. by using Facebook Events, The Daily Beast reports.

The events reportedly included an August 2016 anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rally in Idaho. The Facebook page behind that event had 133,000 followers when the social network shut it down last month.

This comes after Facebook last week confirmed a Russian company with links to the Kremlin was spreading politically aligned ads to Americans before and after the election using a $100,000 ad buy.

A Facebook spokesperson told Axios it "shut down several promoted events as part of the takedown we described last week." The company didn't explicitly confirm The Daily Beast's reporting, including on the contents of the events they took down. And as Gizmodo reports, it's not clear if these ads actually resulted in people showing up at these events.

Facebook is cooperating with the special counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and last week staff members briefed Senate and House committees on the $100,000 ad buy. Right now, Facebook is not required to attach disclaimers for political dollars funneling into the platform.

The big picture: This is raising questions about whether media is capable of manipulating democracy, as Axios' Sara Fischer reports.

Go deeper: Russia revelations spark demands for new media revelations.

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