Facebook probe finds no new evidence of Russian-linked ads during Brexit campaign

Facebook has told MPs it has found no new evidence of adverts from Russian-linked accounts targeting voters in the Brexit campaign.

Simon Milner, UK policy director at the internet giant, said a fresh trawl had not uncovered more than the “minimal” activity already known about.

The Facebook move followed a request by the Commons  Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee for information on any coordinated Russian activity around the EU referendum.

In a letter to the committee, Mr Milner said: “The investigation team found no additional coordinated Russian linked accounts or pages delivering ads to the UK regarding the EU referendum during the relevant period, beyond the minimal activity we previously disclosed.

“These findings are in contrast with the results of our investigation into organised Russian activities targeting the US, which we have reported on in detail to Congress and publicly.”

DCMS committee chairman Damian Collins (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The move comes after the committee held special hearings with social media firms in Washington DC in early February.

Committee chairman Damian Collins said: “Although we welcome Facebook’s continued cooperation with our investigation with this letter today, there are still several outstanding pieces of information that they promised to the committee when they gave evidence to us in Washington DC on February 8.

“I look forward to them sharing with us, amongst other information: the exact number of accounts that they have suspended; how they are resourcing their fight against bots; their methodology of how they identify fake accounts; and how they determine what country those accounts come from.”

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