Published: Mon, September 18, 2017
Tech | By Constance Martin

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

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

CNN confirmed on Saturday that Mueller had indeed obtained the information with the help of a warrant.

Facebook, the world's largest social network, said last week that an operation likely based in Russian Federation had placed thousands of USA ads with polarizing views on topics such as immigration, race and gay rights on the site during a two-year period through May 2017.

After obtaining a search warrant, Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team received records of fraudulent Facebook accounts and the targeted ads they purchased during the election, according to the Wall Street Journal and CNN.

Legal experts said that the news could signal a potentially explosive new phase in Mueller's investigation.

In order to obtain a search warrant in the first place, a prosecutor must demonstrate to a judge a reason to believe a crime has been committed and that the information requested by the warrant will provide evidence of the crime.

Mariotti believes this indicates that Mueller is "closing in on charging foreign individuals in connection with that, which is much more like the sort of thing I think lot of people speculated could come from the Mueller investigation, but frankly we hadn't seen up until now".

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Facebook turned over data related to the ads, in addition to a so-called Russian "troll farm" believed to be behind them. "It's a very serious and significant move forward for the Mueller investigation", Mariotti said.

Further, the House Intelligence Committee is seeking an interview with Brad Parscale, the digital director for Trump's campaign, who worked closely with Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner. US intelligence officials say the Kremlin directed online propaganda and hacking efforts meant to help Donald Trump take the victory.

He also said the development suggests Mueller is pursuing charges against Russian individuals.

Last week's disclosure was Facebook's first acknowledgment that Russians had used the company to reach Americans during the presidential campaign.

Mueller has convened a grand jury in his investigation.

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. Rangappa said this reveals two key pieces of information.

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