Peter Thiel vocal over Facebook’s political ad policy: Report
FOX Business’ Jackie DeAngelis and Belpointe chief market strategist David Nelson discuss co-founder of PayPal Peter Thiel’s request to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to reportedly not review fake political ads.
Facebook Inc. in recent weeks investigated suspicious content supporting Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign, said people familiar with the matter. But the company was unable to substantiate claims that supporters of President Trump or Russian actors were involved in any inauthentic activity.
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Some in Facebook's leadership were briefed recently on the investigation, some of the people said. It couldn't be learned whether the probe is continuing.
FACEBOOK TO ALLOW PAID POLITICAL MESSAGES THAT AREN'T ADS
Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said the company investigated a claim by an outside researcher over suspicious pro-Sanders content, among regular reports it generally receives from the research community. While Facebook actively monitors its platform for political disinformation, not all internal inquiries are escalated to senior officials, as this one was, people familiar with the matter said.
"We investigate each credible claim we receive, just as we did in this instance when an outside researcher contacted us," Stone said. "To date, we have not been able to substantiate the researcher's claims and we have not been notified by the intelligence community."
U.S. officials have also briefed Sanders that Russia is trying to support his campaign for the Democratic nomination, The Wall Street Journal previously reported. It isn't clear whether Facebook's internal probe is related to the briefing provided to Mr. Sanders.
At least two separate, independent online disinformation researchers have found within the last several months what they believe to be evidence of inauthentic pro-Sanders activity on Facebook that may have links to Russian operatives or Trump supporters, according to one of the people familiar with the matter. At least one of those data sets has been presented to Facebook, which reviewed the material, people familiar with the review said.
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Stone added: "Had we found a campaign of coordinated inauthentic behavior, we would've removed it and announced it publicly, just as we did more than 50 times last year."
Facebook's internal inquiry comes at a time of hypersensitivity to potential social-media manipulation in the 2020 presidential campaign. The tech giant is eager to show that its defenses are improved after it failed to detect Russian misinformation efforts in 2016, while Sanders and Trump both have discouraged suggestions that they could be favored candidates of Moscow.
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U.S. intelligence officials have been warning for years that Russia and others will likely seek to interfere in the 2020 contest. Former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation found that Russia interfered in "sweeping and systematic fashion" in the 2016 presidential election to help Trump and denigrate his Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton. Mueller's probe also found that Russian intelligence operatives spreading propaganda on social media also showed some favoritism toward Mr. Sanders during his primary battle against Clinton.
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