Published: Sun, September 17, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

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

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

Facebook has turned over to US special counsel Robert Mueller detailed records about the Russian ad purchases on its platform that go further than what it shared with Congress last week, according a report published September 15 on The Wall Street Journal's website.

"The key here, though, is that Mueller clearly already has enough information on these accounts - and their link to a potential crime to justify forcing [Facebook] to give up the info", Rangappa said.

The social network provided copies of ads and explained how they were targeted and who bought them, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing an ongoing investigation. The records given to Mueller provide much more details than what the social media platform said last week to Congress.

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The social networking site, based in Menlo Park, Calif., has not shared such detailed information with Congress, "in part because of concerns about disrupting the Mueller probe, and possibly running afoul of USA privacy laws", the Journal reported. Facebook policy dictates that it would only turn over "the stored contents of any account", including messages and location information, in response to a search warrant, some of them said. The Senate Intelligence Committee is likely to ask Facebook representatives to testify publicly in the coming weeks, but even if it subpoenas Facebook, it is not likely to gain access to the information Mueller now has at his fingertips. "That means that he has uncovered a great deal of evidence through other avenues".

Former FBI Director Mueller was appointed by the Department of Justice to investigate Russian interference in the US election.

It been reported that a Russian company paid Facebook $100,000 to place political ads.

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Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti also focused on the warrant in a series of tweets, arguing that its presence meant that Mueller was "close to charging specific foreign people with a crime", and that if Trump associates were part of the planning behind it, they could face serious charges as well.

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

The company also listed out steps it has implemented towards curbing fake accounts and stories on the platform.

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