Facebook announced on Wednesday that it would allow some of its users to see if they had liked or followed pages run by the Russian entity Internet Research Agency either on Facebook or Instagram.
The tool will be available for use by the end of 2017 in the Facebook Health Center, the company said. Users will be able to see if they had followed or liked these pages between January 2015 and August 2017.
“This is part of our ongoing effort to protect our platforms and the people who use them from bad actors who try to undermine our democracy,” Facebook said. “It is important that people understand how foreign actors tried to sow division and mistrust using Facebook before and after the 2016 US election.”
Technology companies Facebook, Twitter and Google have been under fire in the United States for not doing more to prevent alleged Russian interference in the American political process. Democrats and some Republicans on a Senate Judiciary subcommittee had complained that the companies waited almost a year to publicly admit how many Americans were exposed to alleged Russian effort to spread propaganda during the presidential election.
Following backlash, Facebook had in October announced that it would increase transparency in advertising. An estimated 10 million people in the United States have seen political, divisive advertisements on Facebook before and after the 2016 presidential elections, the company admitted.
More than 3,000 such advertisements were paid for by Internet Research Agency.
Facebook, along with Twitter and Google, was asked to testify before the US Senate Intelligence Committee in the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the US election. An internal review had found that Russia-based advertisers had spent more than Rs 17 lakh on 3,000 Facebook ads.
On September 29, Twitter had said that a Russian state-funded media organisation had placed over 1,800 advertisements in 2016 in the run-up to the presidential election, by spending more than Rs 1.5 crore.