‘Facebook tells Mueller about Russian group that bought ads ahead of polls’
Facebook Inc has given special counsel Robert Mueller extra details on political ad spending from a Russian group that tried to sow discord online ahead of last year’s presidential election, according to a person familiar with the matter.
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. That surpassed the level of information Facebook gave Congress last week. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported Facebook’s latest disclosures.
Facebook said it is coope- rating with investigators and declined to comment further. The company’s policy is to only provide informa- tion to the government if there is a valid court order, subpoena or search warrant.
The information is rele- vant to Mueller as investigators try to understand whether there were any links between Russia’s activity and President Trump’s poll campaign. Facebook and other social media is a “red-hot” focus of the probe, officials familiar with the situation told Bloomberg earlier this week.
Facebook said last week it found about $100,000 in ad spending connected to fake accounts probably run from Russia. Senate intelligence panel chief Richard Burr, a Republican, wants a public hearing to force Facebook to account for what happened on its platform during the poll, and has been frustrated at the firms’s disclosures to date.
President Trump shakes hands with First Lady Melania Trump after she introduced him before his address to the military in Maryland