Facebook Gave Mueller Information On Russian Ads It Found On Platform

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Reuters first reported that Facebook had given Mueller data on the ads last week, and the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Facebook turned over copies of the ads and details about how they were targeted and the accounts that purchased them.

Facebook Inc, under pressure over its role in possible Russian meddling in last year's USA presidential election, said it plans an election integrity initiative to protect Canada's next vote from cyber threats.

In addition, the company also found $50,000 in ad purchases linked to Russian accounts.

"Our analysis suggests these accounts and Pages were affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russia", Facebook said last week. That surpassed the level of information Facebook told Congress last week.

"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.

Some experts however pointed out that the new direction in the case also means that Mueller is no longer looking at Russia's election interference from a strict counterintelligence standpoint.

When asked how often Facebook works with law enforcement and what sort of information the company might share, Mariotti said, "Facebook's attitude towards law enforcement is aggressive".

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"That means that he has uncovered a great deal of evidence through other avenues of Russian election interference", she said.

The ads and accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum, touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights, the social networking giant had earlier said. Some ads directly mentioned Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign.

The report said a Facebook spokesperson said the company was continuing to investigate and was cooperating with authorities, and that a spokesperson for Mueller declined to comment.

Some of the ads were geographically targeted, leading to speculation that the Russian effort may have been lent a helping hand by Americans.

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.

"We know we have to stay vigilant to keep ahead of people who try to misuse our platform", said Stamos.

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