Facebook to inform users of content they saw from Russian trolls

Facebook announced Wednesday it will unveil a tool by year’s end allowing users to learn of any Facebook or Instagram contact they may have had with Russian internet trolls leading up to and following the 2016 U.S. election.

The social media giant “will soon be creating a portal to enable people on Facebook to learn which of the Internet Research Agency Facebook Pages or Instagram accounts they may have liked or followed between January 2015 and August 2017,” it said in a blog post Wednesday. “This tool will be available for use by the end of the year in the Facebook Help Center.”

The Internet Research Agency is a St. Petersburg, Russia-based firm with ties to that country’s government.

Lawmakers pressed Facebook on the matter over the last month. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wrote letters to Facebook, Google and Twitter asking for such consumer notification, requesting a response by Wednesday. He referred to Facebook’s disclosure last month that such content could have reached as many as 126 million people.

Facebook’s blog post is titled “Continuing Transparency on Russian Activity.”

“It is important that people understand how foreign actors tried to sow division and mistrust using Facebook before and after the 2016 U.S. election,” the company said. “That’s why as we have discovered information, we have continually come forward to share it publicly, and have provided it to congressional investigators.”

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