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Mueller investigation focusing on social media's role in 2016 election: report

Mueller investigation focusing on social media's role in 2016 election: report
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Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election is focusing increasingly on how Moscow used social media to disrupt the presidential race, according to a Bloomberg report.

That involves seeking additional information about Russian activities on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook disclosed last week that a Kremlin-linked company purchased more than $100,000 worth of ads on its platform that ran between June 2015 and May 2017.

Those ads were linked to nearly 500 fraudulent accounts that likely operated out of Russia and focused on hot-button issues like immigration and gun control. 

Likewise, Twitter is expected to hand over to Congress an analysis of Russian activity on its platform, similar to the one provided by Facebook last week.

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Social media has become an increasingly vulnerable target for foreign nations to try to influence the elections and policies of other countries, according to Bloomberg. U.S. intelligence agencies, including the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, are exploring how to prevent future election meddling.

Meanwhile, National Intelligence Director Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsTop state election official questions why Trump is downplaying threat of Russian election interference: report Russian bots turn to gun control after Florida high school shooting: report The case alleging Russian collusion is not closed MORE warned that Russia is stepping up its cyber operations, saying Wednesday that Moscow has "assumed an even more aggressive cyber posture by increasing cyber espionage operations and leaking data stolen from those operations."

Congressional investigators are also turning their attention increasingly toward the role of social media in Russia's election meddling efforts.

Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrOvernight Finance: Senate rejects Trump immigration plan | U.S. Bancorp to pay 0M in fines for lacking money laundering protections | Cryptocurrency market overcharges users | Prudential fights to loosen oversight Senators introduce bill to help businesses with trade complaints Our intelligence chiefs just want to tell the truth about national security MORE (R-N.C.), the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on Tuesday that his panel would likely interview Facebook officials as part of its investigation into Russian interference in the election, according to Bloomberg.

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffGOP strategist confronts ex-Trump staffer: ‘I’m sick of you guys making excuses for him’ Shepard Smith goes after Trump for not condemning Russia in tweets Trump: Why didn't Obama 'do something about Russian meddling?' MORE (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, told Bloomberg that his panel has been talking with tech companies, including Facebook, about the matter.