Facebook said Tuesday that it has taken down 70 accounts that were controlled by the Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-backed company that engages in online influence operations for the Russian government.
The social networking platform also removed 65 Instagram accounts and 138 Facebook Pages, stated Tuesday. Most of the Facebook Pages contained ads, Stamos said. He added that 95% of the content on the removed pages was in Russian.
"The (Internet Research Agency) has repeatedly used complex networks of inauthentic accounts to deceive and manipulate people who use Facebook, including before, during and after the 2016 US presidential elections," he wrote. "It’s why we don’t want them on Facebook."
He added that the removed material included "commentary on domestic and international political issues, the promotion of Russian culture and tourism as well as debate on more everyday issues."
In the U.S., the Internet Research Agency is best known for purchasing political ads on social media platforms during the 2016 presidential election. Last year, it emerged that the organization spent $100,000 to buy around 3,000 political ads on Facebook between June of 2015 and May of 2017.
Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia), who supports new regulations for online political ads, responded to the latest revelations by calling on Facebook "to continue to identify Russian troll activity and to work with Congress on updating our laws to better protect our democracy in the future.”
Warner, along with Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) and John McCain (R-Arizona), proposed the Honest Ads Act, which would require digital platforms with at least 50 million monthly viewers to maintain publicly available copies of political ads purchased by groups spending more than a total of $500. The companies also would have to maintain public records about the target audience, number of views, rates charged, and dates and times of publication.