Facebook expands probe into whether Russian spies swung Brexit vote

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In the words of the chairman of the British Parliamentary Commission on Media and Culture Damian Collins, the social networks need to be more active in investigating the misuse of their services rather than waiting for action by regulators.

"You expressed a view that there may be other similar coordinated activity from Russian Federation that we had not yet identified through our investigation and asked for us to continue our investigatory work".

"We are committed to making all reasonable efforts to establish whether or not there was coordinated activity similar to which was found in the USA and will report back to you as soon as the work has been completed, " Simon Milner, Facebook's United Kingdom policy director, wrote in a letter to United Kingdom lawmaker Damian Collins.

His committee in October asked Facebook, Twitter Inc. and other internet companies to provide information about how the Russian government used social media accounts to influence the Brexit vote and the 2017 election. "They are best placed to investigate activity on their platform". The request was part of an inquiry the committee is conducting on fake news. At the same time, the company announced yesterday that they would begin to notify their US users who were exposed to Russian propaganda.

Facebook concluded that a Russian-backed agency had spent just 75p ($1) on Facebook ads during the Brexit campaign.

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Facebook has widened its investigation into possible Russian interference in the European Union referendum.

In its Brexit report, Facebook also only looked at known Russian trollfarm the Internet Research Agency pages or account profiles - which it had previously identified in its USA election disinformation probe.

"I look forward to seeing the results of this investigation, and I'm sure we will want to question Facebook about this when we know the outcome", said Mr Collins.

The company also revealed that it had identified accounts linked to the "Internet Research Agency", a company based in St Petersburg which is notorious for peddling online propaganda.

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