According to documents obtained by the New York Times, Russian agents were able to influence 126 million users on Facebook with their targeted campaign messages. In addition, they also published more than 131,000 tweets and posted more than 1,000 videos to YouTube. The documents were sent to Congress on Monday by Facebook, Google, and Twitter as evidence for the upcoming Congressional hearings that will take place later this week.
These numbers are far greater than what was previously believed and it appears that the shadowy Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency was behind a large amount of this content. They posted an estimated 80,000 pieces of inflammatory content that was directed at 29 million people. Some of these posts were then shared to others increasing the reach to tens of millions more.
Although these are still very large numbers, Facebook claims that it only represents about 0.004% of the content on its website during the time frame. From 2015 to 2017, there were 11 trillion posts from Facebook pages.
In addition to the Internet Research Agency, Twitter also identified about 36,000 additional accounts that posted 1.4 million tweets during the three mounts before the election. These tweets were viewed by 288 million people which accounts for about 0.75% of all election related tweets according to Twitter's logs.
The Russian agents had much less success on YouTube. Despite posting more than 1000 videos, they only achieved a total of about 309,000 views from 2015-2016.
As the Congressional hearings loom, the three internet giants are in a difficult position with no easy answer. A majority of the content didn't violate any policies and could likely have remained on the platforms. Statements like "hundreds of millions of people were tricked into voting for Trump" are simply not true either.