Technology

Facebook gave more info to Mueller on Russian ad buys than to Congress: report

The information Facebook turned over to special counsel Robert Mueller about Russian ad purchases during the 2016 election is more than it gave to Congress, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

The social network reportedly shared with Mueller copies of the ads that were purchased as well as details on what targeting options were used to purchase the ads. Facebook also gave Mueller information on the accounts that purchased the ads, according to the Journal.

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

CNN reported Friday night that Mueller's team was given copies of the ads, as well as information about the accounts that bought them, after obtaining a search warrant for the information.

The newspaper reports that after Facebook gave a presentation on the Russian ad purchases to Senate and House staff members last week, the social network's representatives took with them all the materials used in the presentation, according to people familiar with the matter.

House and Senate investigators were reportedly frustrated with how little they were told in that briefing.

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

Facebook revealed last week that it sold thousands of political ads over the past two years to fake accounts based in Russia.

Alex Stamos, Facebook's chief security officer, said that 470 inauthentic accounts spent about $100,000 to buy roughly 3,000 ads. He added that the accounts have since been suspended.

The social network said the majority of the ads did not specifically reference either Hillary Clinton or President Trump but instead promoted divisive social issues, like immigration.

A Facebook spokesman told CNN in July that "we have seen no evidence that Russian actors bought ads on Facebook in connection with the election."

Updated: 9:07 p.m.

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