Nov 22, 2017

Facebook will tell users if they followed Russian pages

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Jeff Roberson / AP

Facebook will tell users whether they followed pages set up by Russian operatives as part of a broad campaign to interfere in the 2016 election. The company, along with Twitter and Google, have faced pressure from lawmakers to be more transparent about how far the Russian ads, pages and propaganda spread on their platforms and who was exposed to it.

The details: The social network said Wednesday that it will create a page on its support website that will tell a user which pages and accounts they followed on Facebook and Instagram that have been linked to a Russian troll farm involved in the election campaign. Users will also be able to see when they followed the account.

  • The announcement coincides with the deadline to respond to a letter from Sen. Richard Blumenthal asking the company to "individually notify any and all users who received or interacted with these advertisements and associated content." He also sent letters to Google and Twitter.

What they're not doing: Telling users whether they were exposed to content from the pages in their Newsfeed, even if they didn't follow them. Users may have seen content that spread organically or as a result of a paid ad. Facebook has argued that it's especially difficult to be able to show that information.

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Scoop: Trump and Zuckerberg share phone call amid social media furor

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In the week that President Trump took on social media, Axios has learned that he had a call Friday with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that was described by both sides as productive.

Why it matters: With the White House and Twitter at war, Facebook has managed to keep diplomatic relations with the world's most powerful social-media devotee.

Twitter, Google lead chorus of brands backing George Floyd protests

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Twitter and Google are among the dozens of brands over the past 24 hours that have taken public stances in favor of Americans protesting racial equality. Some companies have changed their logos in solidarity with the movement, while others have pledged money in support of efforts to address social injustice.

Why it matters: The pressure that companies feel to speak out on issues has increased during the Trump era, as businesses have sought to fill a trust void left by the government. Now, some of the biggest companies are quickly taking a public stand on the protests, pressuring all other brands to do the same.

NYPD commissioner: "I'm extremely proud" of officers' response to protests

New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea in February. Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a public statement Sunday that he is "extremely proud" of the New York City Police Department's response to protests over the death of George Floyd Saturday night, writing: "What we saw in New York City last night and the night before was not about peaceful protest of any kind."

Why it matters: New York City residents captured several instances of police officers using excessive force against demonstrators. In one video, two NYPD SUVs are seen ramming into protesters who were blocking a road and throwing traffic cones at the vehicles.