Facebook to continue its probe into Russian meddling on Brexit

The social network agrees to reopen its investigation after initially saying it found only a minimal amount of UK-related activity.

Terry Collins Staff Reporter, CNET News
Terry writes about social networking giants and legal issues in Silicon Valley for CNET News. He joined CNET News from the Associated Press, where he spent the six years covering major breaking news in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before the AP, Terry worked at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and the Kansas City Star. Terry's a native of Chicago.
Terry Collins
2 min read

Not so fast. Facebook is apparently not done looking into whether Russian hackers influenced the Brexit referendum campaign.

The social network told a British parliamentary committee in a letter Wednesday that it will reopen its investigation after UK lawmakers said they weren't satisfied with the company's findings last month. 

EU and Technology

Facebook says it will look further into Russians meddled in the Brexit campaign.

Getty Images

In October, parliamentary committee chair Damian Collins wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking the company to share similar material that US congressional committees received in its probe of Russian election meddling. Facebook said that more than 126 million users in America saw inflammatory political ads bought by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian-backed internet troll farm, during the 2016 US campaign.  

Representatives from Facebook, Google and Twitter promised Wednesday during a US Senate committee hearing to provide more transparency and to take proactive measures to prevent such propaganda from happening again. 

British lawmakers are worried that Russians may have had a role in the hotly-debated referendum last year in which Britain voted to leave the European Union. Facebook said its initial investigation found "a minimal amount" of UK-related activity. 

In Wednesday's letter, Facebook UK policy director Simon Milner told Collins that the company's latest investigation will be "looking to see if we can identify other similar clusters engaged in coordinated activity" around the referendum. 

Milner said the probe could take several weeks. 

"We are committed to making all reasonable efforts to establish whether or not there was coordinated activity similar to that which was found in the US," he said. 

Correction, 2:35 p.m.: A Facebook exec's last name was misspelled. His name is Simon Milner.

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