Divisive political posts linked to Russian operatives ended up in an unexpected place during the 2016 U.S. presidential election: Pinterest
The social bookmarking site, which is popular for wedding planning, home decor and recipe ideas, also found Russian-linked posts on its platform, The Washington Post reported.
Pinterest users were saving or “pinning” this content onto their digital scrap boards from other websites, including social networks Facebook and Twitter. In September, Facebook said that 470 fake accounts and pages that appear to be linked to Russian entities ran roughly 3,000 ads from 2015 to 2017.
“We believe the fake Facebook content was so sophisticated that it tricked real Americans into saving it to Pinterest,” Pinterest head of public policy Charlie Hale told the media outlet. “We’ve removed the content brought to our attention and continue to investigate.”
A Pinterest spokesperson confirmed the report to SiliconBeat.
One of the Russian-linked post saved to Pinterest came from a Twitter account called “Being Patriotic” and depicted a police officer along with the words “Georgia Police Officer was Fired for Flying the Confederate Flag.” Being Patriotic has been linked to a Russian troll farm called the Internet Research Agency.
More than 200 million people use Pinterest every month.
Russian officials have denied meddling in the U.S. presidential election. But U.S. lawmakers are still investigating what role the country might have played.
The revelation by Pinterest comes as other Silicon Valley tech firms, including Facebook, Twitter and Google are grappling with how their websites might be harming democracy.
Facing the possibility of more regulation, tech executives have been meeting with U.S. lawmakers to assure them it’s an issue they’re taking seriously.
On Wednesday, Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg met with House members looking into Russian-linked ads.
Officials from Facebook, Google and Twitter are also expected to testify before the House Intelligence Committee about the topic on Nov. 1.
Photo Credit: A sign at the new headquarters for Pinterest is photographed Tuesday morning, June 28, 2016, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)