Facebook and other social media platforms, like Twitter and Instagram, have come under intense scrutiny in past weeks, as more information has surfaced about how Russian actors used those platforms to spread misinformation online.
Mueller’s 37-page indictment, released on Friday, revealed the depth of Russian involvement in the U.S. political process. The document stated that a Russian organization, called the Internet Research Agency, created fictitious American personas on social media platforms and other Internet-based media to wage “information warfare” against the United States.
Facebook’s Goldman stated that sowing chaos, not electing Trump, was Russia’s primary intent in infiltrating American social media networks.
“Most of the coverage of Russian meddling involves their attempt to effect the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election. I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal,” he wrote on Twitter.
To prove his point, he referenced an anti-Islam protest in Houston in November 2017. Russian trolls were later shown to have organized both sides of the protest.
The fact that it all benefited Trump, was just an added plus for Russia, according to Goldman.
“I think the Russians believed that Trump would be a more divisive leader,” he said.
Facebook has released the names of several fake accounts, groups and events created and orchestrated by Russians on social media. But even the company admits it can’t catch all of the ads. Goldman emphasized Facebook is actively working to prevent such manipulation in the future.
“We are also taking aggressive steps to prevent this sort of meddling in the future by requiring verification of political advertisers and by making all ads on the platform visible to anyone who cares to examine them,” Goldman said.