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Russian-linked Facebook accounts helped stage divisive events

Often times, these accounts would work with US activists on events that played both sides of an issue.

Facebook will publicly share the divisive ads purchased by Russian-linked operatives.
Justin Tallis / AFP/Getty Images

People linked to Russian-backed Facebook accounts helped organize or fund events in the US around divisive topics -- often playing both sides of a hot-button issue, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

The WSJ cited an example in July, when a Russia-based firm organized two events on the same day. The first was a "Blue Lives Matter" rally to honor fallen police officers killed in Dallas on July 7. The other was for an event near Minneapolis, where people gathered to honor Philando Castile, a black man shot fatally by a police officer during a traffic stop. 

The events illustrate that Russia did more than just influence the US through ads and fake news spread on social media. Russia has already proven that it's adept at creating viral content and seeding dissent and outrage on social media.

These accounts helped organize the events before and after the 2016 election, the WSJ said. 

Facebook couldn't immediately be reached for comment. 

Facebook, along with Google and Twitter, are set to testify before Congress about the influence of Russian ads on Wednesday.