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Facebook Estimates 10 Million People Saw Russia-Linked Advertisements

Facebook says that an estimated 10 million people saw advertisements that have been linked to Russia on its social-media platform before and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The world’s largest social network on October 2 turned over 3,000 ads to three congressional committees investigating Russian influence in the 2016 election -- the House and Senate intelligence committees and the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Facebook's Elliot Schrage said in a blog posting that "most of the ads appear to focus on divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum, touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights."

Earlier in the day, Facebook announced that it would hire more than 1,000 people to help prevent deceptive advertisements from interfering with future elections.

Facebook’s vice president of global policy, Joel Kaplan, said the ads appeared to be linked to a Russian company known as Internet Research, which violated Facebook policies because the ads came from fake accounts.

The social network said the ads ran from 2015 to 2017 and that about 44 percent of them were seen before the election. Some of the ads were paid for in Russian rubles, it said.

U.S. intelligence agencies have accused Russia of meddling in the U.S. presidential election to favor Republican Donald Trump over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, allegations Moscow denies.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters