Facebook will introduce tool to help users identify pages created by Russian propaganda groups

Facebook is creating a new tool that will help users find out if they have interacted with social media pages created by Russian groups as propaganda.

The social network said it will roll out a new web portal in its online Help Centre that will list now-deleted pages linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency that users may have followed or liked.

The agency is a Kremlin-linked group based in St Petersburg which Facebook describes as having created Facebook and Instagram accounts to "sow division and mistrust" around the US election.

Earlier this month, Facebook told the US Congress as many as 150 million of its users may have seen political adverts on its platform, having discovered thousands of posts and adverts paid for by Russia-linked agents.

The social network has more than two billion active users globally.

"This is part of our ongoing effort to protect our platforms and the people who use them from bad actors who try to undermine our democracy," Facebook said in a blog post.

"It is important that people understand how foreign actors tried to sow division and mistrust using Facebook before and after the 2016 US election.

"That’s why as we have discovered information, we have continually come forward to share it publicly and have provided it to congressional investigators. And it’s also why we’re building the tool we are announcing today."

The new tool, which Facebook says will be live by the end of the year, will cover the period between January 2015 and August 2016.

Following the US presidential election last year, Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said it was a "pretty crazy idea" to suggest fake news spread on the site influenced the election.

The Facebook boss has since admitted he regrets those comments and said it was "too important an issue to be dismissive".

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