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UK MPs quiz Facebook over Russian intervention in Brexit referendum

Mark Zuckerberg
Image credis\ts: Shutterstock

UK MPs have written to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and requested information on any paid activity by Russian-linked accounts in the run up to the Brexit referendum and UK election.

The letter was formulated by Damian Collins, chair of parliament’s Digital, Media and Sport Committee and is part of an evidence gathering process for an upcoming inquiry into ‘fake news’.

Collins said in the letter: “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.”

The MP asked that Facebook provide examples of all the advertisements purchased by accounts linked to Russia, of all the pages set up by these accounts and stats on how the ads and pages performed.

“I believe that the information I have requested is in line with that already supplied to Facebook to several United States Senate Committees, including the Senate Intelligence Committee, in relation to the 2016 US presidential election,” Collins wrote.

The news comes after MPs in the UK launched an inquiry into ‘fake news’ in January, which was suspended following the call of a surprise general election.

Facebook in the US

It also comes amid growing speculation that Russia intervened in the 2016 US presidential election, which saw President Donald Trump move into the White House.

Earlier this month, Facebook said that approximately 10 million people in the US saw politically divisive adverts on its platform and that these were purchased in Russia in the run up to the presidential election.