Oh Boy… Facebook To Give U.S. Investigators Russian Ads Purchased During Election
As president Donald Trump takes his campaign of distraction into overdrive —lashing out at NFL and NBA players and attacking the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico—, several news outlets just revealed that social media giant Facebook will release over 3,000 political ads purchased by Russian operatives during the 2016 presidential election.
As reported by The Hill, the move comes after Facebook faced pressure from federal lawmakers like Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) Both are the highest-ranking Democrats in the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, respectively.
While the senators have said that they’re pleased with Facebook’s decision to release the ads to investigators, they note that they would still like more details.
According to the report, the Senators are interested in the activity of the social media accounts through which the ads were purchased. A spokesperson for Warner said that his office believes that this could yield more information on how Russians may have sought to influence the election and sow discord among Americans than the just the advertisements.
“I think we may just be seeing the tip of the iceberg. Facebook has had a fairly narrow search,” Warner said last month.
The House Intelligence Committee says that it will also hold a public hearing on the matter in October, and would like the three companies to be present as well.
At the beginning of September, Facebook revealed that a Kremlin-linked group called the Internet Research Agency had purchased $100,000 in political ads during the 2016 election.
Later reports from The Daily Beast and The Washington Post found that at least some of the roughly 3,000 advertisements purchased by the group were designed to affect political opinion and tug at social fault lines in the U.S. Some ads suggested that Black Lives Matter was a political threat. Others encouraged Americans to participate in pro-Trump rallies.