Senators Want Facebook to Notify Users Who Saw Russian Ads

A bipartisan group of senators is urging Facebook Inc. to alert users who’ve viewed Russian-created content around the time of the 2016 presidential election.

Facebook already announced in November 2017 the creation of a tool that tells users whether they “liked” or shared content by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian company that created videos and social media posts to advance interests of the Russian government.

But the tool is “buried” in the Facebook help center, and the social network failed to create a similar tool to inform users that they viewed content, Sens. Susan M. Collins (R-Maine), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Angus S. King (I-Maine), and Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) wrote in a Feb. 28 letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Collins and Reed published the letter March 2 on their websites.

“While we welcome some of the steps Facebook has taken, your company needs to do more,” the senators wrote. “The vast majority of Americans still have no idea if they were one of the users who viewed this troublesome content.”

Facebook’s tool went live Dec. 22, spokesman Andy Stone told Bloomberg Law. He said the company “undertook significant efforts” to let Facebook users know the tool is available.