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Facebook Russian Ties Date Back To 2009, Ignored Warnings About Fake News In 2016 Elections

Yuri Milner.TechCrunch/Flickr

At this point, there’s no sense denying that Facebook had a huge role to play in compromising U.S. democracy during the 2016 presidential elections. However, new information has come to light that reveals Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg’s ties to Russia actually dates back to the early days of the social network. What’s more, the site was warned of Russian interference a year before the 2016 elections, which seems to have been ignored.

Everything goes back to Russian billionaire Yuri Milner’s early backing of Facebook in 2009, when the company had yet to go public, The Los Angeles Times reports. Aside from Facebook, Milner also backed Twitter and several other Silicon Valley startups, which allowed them to thrive. This made the Russian one of the most influential investors in the U.S. tech industry.

However, according to leaked documents titled the Paradise Papers, it would seem that Milner was only able to invest in so many startups because he was given money by the Kremlin. This was done via an energy company called Gazprom, which then financed the investment firm called DST Global. DST Global was owned by Milner.

Zuckerberg was famously interviewed alongside Milner in 2009 when the Facebook Founder touted the investor’s expertise to help the social media site get off the ground. The same goes for Twitter, which confirmed that Milner had helped reel in investors in 2011. In a sense, these U.S. social media giants owe their existence to someone who could very well be working for Russia to destabilize U.S. democracy.

On the matter of the fake news controversy that continues to infest Facebook today, it would seem that the social network was warned a full year before the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections that Russia would attempt to spread misinformation. This warning apparently came from the Ukrainian government itself, which also suffered misinformation campaigns by Russia, according to an opinion piece in The Washington Times.

Ukraine had reportedly been suffering from similar attacks to sow dissent and division among its people for daring to have pro-Western sentiments. Had Facebook taken the warnings seriously, who knows if Donald Trump would still be president right now?

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