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Facebook handed over info on those Russia-linked ads under a search warrant – A N I T H
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Facebook handed over info on those Russia-linked ads under a search warrant

Facebook handed over info on those Russia-linked ads under a search warrant


They’ve got a warrant.

Image: Thibault Camus/AP/REX/Shutterstock

There’s more to the $100,000 in ads that Facebook sold to a Russian propaganda company. 

Special counsel and former FBI Director Robert Mueller obtained a search warrant that forced Facebook to hand over the ads it sold to a company known for pro-Kremlin propaganda, as well as information about them. The Wall Street Journal first reported that Facebook gave up the ads, and CNN later added it was because Mueller obtained a warrant. 

Facebook first admitted to the dealings with the pro-Kremlin interest under testimony to Congressional intelligence committees last week. Without a warrant, however, Facebook didn’t have to actually turn over the ads or relevant records to Congress.

Now, Mueller’s team has them as part of its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The ads were targeted at American Facebook users and covered issues like gun rights and immigration. Some ads directly mentioned Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign. 

Along with the videos themselves, Facebook reportedly handed over more details about the accounts that bought the ads and the criteria they used to target Facebook users. 

The ads could be an important component of Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. However, Congress might not get to see them, with Facebook citing privacy laws. 

“We continue to work with the appropriate investigative authorities,” Facebook said in a statement to CNN. Facebook didn’t immediately respond to request for comment from Mashable

Renato Mariotti, an attorney and former federal prosecutor in the Securities and Commodities Fraud Section of the United States Attorney’s Office, authored a widely shared Twitter thread discussing the news. In it, he expressed some thoughts on the significance of Mueller obtaining a warrant here.

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Anith Gopal
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