Facebook has admitted that just 73p was spent by Russian on ads which were allegedly designed to meddle in the Brexit referendum. It’s unlikely, however, that the 200 people who saw the ads were likely to have formed an opinion based on those ads, and even if they had, there were nowhere near enough voters affected to have swayed the vote where Leave voters won by a 4% margin.
In a statement, Facebook said:
“We have determined that these accounts associated with [the Russian Internet Research Agency] spent a small amount of money ($0.97) on advertisements that delivered to UK audiences during that time … This amount resulted in three advertisements (each of which were also targeted to US audiences and concerned immigration, not the EU referendum) delivering approximately 200 impressions to UK viewers over four days in May 2016.”
While Facebook says that the ads were addressing immigration, one of the key reasons that people voted to leave the European Union was because they disagreed with the level of immigration into the country from places such as Poland, which has seen over half a million people emigrate to the UK.
In October, Facebook claimed that 10 million U.S. citizens saw Russian-manufactured ads which touched on sensitive topics such as LGBT issues, gun rights, and immigration. Of the overall voting population, the 10 million U.S. citizens who saw the ads were a comparatively small percentage of those who went out to vote. To date, there doesn’t seem to be any country which can state that Russian “hacking” affirmatively affected the results of a vote.