‘Face­book tells Mueller about Rus­sian group that bought ads ahead of polls’

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES GLOBAL -

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.

AFP

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