Bob Mueller's Facebook warrant signals stunning new turn in Russian Federation probe
18 September, 2017, 00:23 | Author: Lloyd Doyle
After revealing that fake Russian accounts bought almost $100,000 of political ads during the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign on its platform, Facebook has handed over more details to American Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, Republican from North Carolina, said this week he wanted a "full accounting" of what happened given Facebook's own admission that Russians appeared to buy US$100,000 (RM419,200) in political ads in the U.S. a year ago, and has said a public hearing is more likely than not.
Both CNN and the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook did not give the same information to congressional committees also investigating Russian interference, and that Facebook's policy states that it will only turn over the "stored contents" of an account in response to a search warrant.
Facebook says it's working with investigators and will continue to look into the ad buys to see if any other foreign bots purchased ads that the company hasn't found yet.
Facebook is launching the program in Canada as internet companies seek to fend off criticism they are not doing enough to thwart online interference with elections and politics.
"Mueller clearly *already* has enough information on these accounts - and their link to a potential crime", tweeted Asha Rangappa, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation counterintelligence agent.
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. "To justify forcing FB to give up the info".
Former FBI Director Mueller was appointed by the Department of Justice to investigate Russian interference in the USA election.
There's more to the $100,000 in ads that Facebook sold to a Russian propaganda company.
Warner wants a public hearing to force Facebook to account for what happened on its platform during the election, and has been frustrated at the company's disclosures to date. If done knowingly and willfully, such spending by a foreign national is a crime.
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