Facebook: No Russian trace in pro-Brexit campaigning
Following a renewed effort to unearth some proof, Facebook has not found any indications that Russia interfered in the UK’s referendum on withdrawal from the European Union.
On Wednesday, Simon Milner, Facebook’s director of policy in the UK, acknowledged that the company’s investigation failed to find a shred of evidence that Russia had tried to influence the Brexit referendum. In a letter to the head of the British probe into the matter, Damian Collins, he said that nothing could be added to the previous conclusions.
“The investigative team did not find additional and coordinated Russian-linked accounts or pages supplying advertising in the UK within the framework of the referendum on the EU during the relevant period, in addition to the minimal activity that we reported earlier,” Milner’s letter reads.
This is Facebook’s second attempt to investigate whether Russia attempted to influence the Brexit ballot. In December, the investigation concluded that there were three ads from Russian accounts that reached some 200 people. After releasing these findings, the company was asked to renew its mission to detect the Russian trace.
The lack of evidence does not stop leading politicians from accusing Russia of meddling. UK Prime Minister Theresa May warned that she is aware of Russia’s deeds, saying that they “will not succeed,” while charging Moscow with attempts “to weaponize information deploying its state run media organizations to plant fake stories and photo shopped images in an attempt to sow discord in the West.”
Brexit is not the only case in which Russia has been accused of interference. Apart from Mueller’s ongoing probe into the 2016 US elections, which has not presented to the public any substantive evidence, similar charges have been made about the Catalan independence referendum in Spain in 2017. Once the Spanish authorities said they have “proof” of cases of Russian meddling, a senator from Spain’s Basque region asked the government to back up the claims, but has not received any evidence.
Speaking to RT, Basque Senator Jon Inarritu said that the narrative is just a tool in a blame game to justify internal problems.
“There is no such case in the answer that we received yesterday. Due to that fact we think that the purpose is to blame an external enemy for all possible internal problems,” Inarritu said.
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