Facebook blocks researcher from viewing Russia-affiliated posts

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. A researcher told The Washington Post that the social network had deleted information from 470 Russia-affiliated accounts.

James Martin/CNET

A researcher was still combing through Facebook posts from Russia-affiliated accounts when the social networking company deleted them from the public record. 

That’s according to The Washington Post, which reported Thursday that analyst Jonathan Albright had downloaded posts from six of the Facebook pages before learning information from all 470 accounts was no longer publicly available. 

Albright told the Post that Facebook told him the information wasn’t meant to be public, and that the company considered it a “bug” that he was able to find and download the data through the Facebook-owned social media analysis tool CrowdTangle. Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the Post’s report.

The deletion came as Facebook faces scrutiny for its role in disseminated ads bought by Russia-affliiated accounts, which US intelligence agencies say was part of a broad campaign of election meddling backed by the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Facebook, along with Twitter and Google, is expected to testify about the issue before federal lawmakers in early November.

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