Facebook reportedly gives Mueller records of fraudulent accounts for Russian Federation investigation

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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.

The Senate Intelligence Committee also hasn't ruled out subpoenaing Facebook officials to publicly testify about how Russian Federation may have used the social media platform to influence the 2016 election, a person familiar with the investigation told the Journal.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team now have information about Russian ads that appeared on Facebook during the election.

Asha Rangappa
Asha Rangappa Verified account @AshaRangappa

Facebook said last week it found about US$100,000 (RM419,200) in ad spending connected to fake accounts probably run from Russian Federation.

Facebook did not give the same information to Congress because it didn't want to disrupt Mueller's investigation or violate US privacy laws, according to the report.

Reports of the warrant, that might come as bad news those who have denied the Russian election interference or have called it a "witch hunt" also focus on probing the targeted ads these accounts purchased during the 2016 election.

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It also means that Mueller is no longer looking at Russia's election interference from a strict counterintelligence standpoint - rather, he now believes he may be able to obtain enough evidence to charge specific foreign entities with a crime.

According to Asha Rangappa, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation counterintelligence agent and an associate dean at Yale Law School, "This is big news - and potentially bad news for the Russian election interference 'deniers'". "That means that he has uncovered a great deal of evidence through other avenues".

Those funds bought more than 5,000 ads on Facebook, the company said.

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Some were circulated before the election and mentioned candidates Clinton and Trump by name.

Facebook said in its initial statement that about 25% of the ads purchased by Russians during the election "were geographically targeted", and many analysts have found it hard to believe that foreign entities would have had the kind of granular knowledge of American politics necessary to target specific demographics and voting precincts.

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.

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To obtain a warrant, experts say Mueller would have needed to prove he has a reasonable suspicion a crime was committed.

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