USA

Russian propaganda during US election revealed

Images alleged to be Russian propaganda posted on Facebook to influence the US presidential election have been published by Congress.

Only a small number of pictures collected by the US Senate Intelligence Committee were released following a hearing featuring social media companies.

They reveal a Russian campaign which sought to sow division between Democrats and Republicans by claiming Muslims were supporting Hillary Clinton, and Black Lives Matter activists attacked the police.

At the hearing earlier this week, Facebook and Twitter both came forward to reveal the reach of Russia-linked posts during and after the election.

Facebook said that as many as 126 million Americans – about half of the US population of voting age – may have seen about 80,000 posts that were published by operatives based in Russia.

That 126 million users saw the Russian-backed content "equals about four-thousandths of one percent (0.004%) of content in News Feed, or approximately 1 out of 23,000 pieces of content," Facebook said.

Video:Social media stats show extent of Russian meddling

Facebook's lawyer, Colin Stretch, identified the material as being posted by Russia's Internet Research Agency between June 2015 and August 2017.

Twitter revealed it found 2,752 accounts linked to the same agency – many more than the 201 it initially reported in September.

Despite the criticism of Facebook, it reported a 49% jump in quarterly advertising revenue to levels above $10bn (£7.55bn) for the first time.

Twitter's shares also jumped when it said it could be on course to turn its first-ever quarterly profit.

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