Russian Facebook Content May Have Reached Roughly One-Third of US Population

Facebook, Twitter, and Google will publicly testify starting on Tuesday.

Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via ZUMA Press

Facebook content from Russian agents may have reached as many as 126 million people over the past two years—the latest revelation in how the operatives used social media platforms to influence the election. Facebook had initially said that posts only reached an estimated 10 million people. 

As the Washington Post reported Monday evening: 

On Tuesday, Facebook’s General Counsel Colin Stretch is expected to say that between 2015 and 2017, the troll farm posted about 80,000 times, and that roughly 29 million people received that content in their news feeds. Because those posts were also liked, shared, and commented on by Facebook users, the company estimates that three times more people – and at most 126 million – may have been exposed to a story that originated from Russian operatives.

Representatives from Facebook, as well as Twitter and Google, will testify before Senate and House committees this week about Russian meddling on the platforms. The Facebook news comes from draft testimonies to Congress that were obtained by reporters ahead of the hearings. 

Google is also expected to confirm before Congress that Russian agents bought ads on its platform, according to the New York Times, which obtained copies of the company’s prepared remarks:

Google said it had found 18 channels that were “likely associated” with the Russian agents that posted political videos to YouTube. All told, those accounts — now suspended — uploaded more than 1,100 videos totaling 43 hours of content from 2015 through the summer of 2017. Google said, in general, those videos had very low view counts; only three percent of the videos had more than 5,000 views and there was no evidence that the accounts had targeted American viewers.

Google also confirmed earlier reports that the Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-linked troll farm, bought $4,700 in ads during the election.  


The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.