Monday, 22 October, 2018

Mueller Investigation Into Russian Facebook Ads May Be a Very Big Deal

A filepic of Mueller at the US Capitol in Washington DC. Facebook provided copies of ads and explained how they were targeted and who bought them said a source. — AFP Facebook gave more info to Mueller on Russian ad buys than to Congress: report
Ellis Copeland | 17 September, 2017, 01:27

The ads, which were linked to a "Russian troll farm", targeted American Facebook users, and thus more information about them could drastically affect Mueller's decision on whether Moscow collaborated with President Donald Trump's campaign team.

Twitter Inc was expected to brief USA congressional investigators soon on whether Russian Federation used its advertising platform to promote divisive social and political messages, a US senator said last week.

Facebook did not give the same information to Congress because it didn't want to disrupt Mueller's investigation or violate US privacy laws, according to the report.

As CNN reported Thursday, Facebook is still not sure whether pro-Kremlin groups may have made other ad buys meant to influence American politics that it simply hasn't discovered yet. The company's policy is to only provide information to the government if there is a valid court order, subpoena or search warrant.

Some lawmakers were unhappy with the lack of information divulged by Facebook. Sen.

On Saturday, Mariotti said, the Facebook search warrant "means that Mueller has concluded that specific foreign individuals committed a crime by making a "contribution" in connection with an election".

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Facebook said last week it found about US$100,000 (RM419,200) in ad spending connected to fake accounts probably run from Russian Federation. "To justify forcing FB to give up the info".

Now, Mueller's team has them as part of its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election.

Google, which said last week it had seen no evidence of a Russian ad campaign on its platforms during last year's USA election, earlier this year offered to defend election organizers and civic groups against cyber attacks free of charge.

Alex Stamos, Facebook's Chief Security Officer, wrote in a blog post that most of the ads didn't focus on one candidate or the other, but "appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum - touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights".

Facebook said the ads from inauthentic accounts did not mention Trump or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

A Facebook spokesman told the newspaper that the company was continuing its probe and was cooperating with federal authorities.

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