The FBI is investigating a Facebook ad campaign funded by the NSSAs National Security Ads Initiative that appears to target Facebook ads to “foreign intelligence” agencies.
According to the New York Times, the ad campaign, run by a group called “Countering Information Warfare,” targets advertisements from a Facebook affiliate that has been flagged by a Russian ad network as being used to “push propaganda and disinformation.”
The ads are “designed to push propaganda and/or disinformation,” according to the ad’s description.
Facebook said in a statement it had launched an investigation.
The ad campaign was launched in October and has been spotted in at least one other Facebook ad platform, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The agency, which has been conducting investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, has identified at least 17 ads that have been run on Facebook.
In the ads, a man says he is a former FBI agent and uses the ad platform to distribute “critical information to the public” and to promote “free media and political engagement.”
The ad, which was reported by the Wall St Journal, was reportedly created by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) as part of a broader campaign targeting Facebook ads that also targets “Russian social media accounts.”
Facebook’s ads have been flagged as foreign intelligence by U.K. intelligence agencies and by the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to a report from the Senate’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which is investigating Russian interference.
In February, Facebook said it would launch a new advertising program to combat misinformation on the platform.