Facebook tells Congress it can’t prove or disprove Trump-Russia collusion

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Facebook informed Congress in newly released documents that it could not prove or disprove collusion between President Trump’s campaign and Russians who may have used the online platform to try to sway opinions during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In written questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee, Facebook representatives were asked whether metadata on their site could reveal possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government, a possibility raised by some researchers.

“Several independent researchers have said that Facebook has the ability to search for content or metadata that could substantiate or disprove allegations of possible collusion between the Russian disinformation operation and the Trump campaign’s own social media efforts, such as timing of certain posts and sharing of content. a. Is this true, and if so, has Facebook found any information relevant to these allegations?” the question reads.

“Facebook does not believe it is in a position to substantiate or disprove allegations of possible collusion,” the company responded, according to documents released by the committee Thursday.


“Facebook is, however, providing investigators, including this Committee, with information it has regarding the scope and nature of Russian information operations on our platform so that those investigators have information that may be relevant to their inquiries,” it continued. “We are happy to schedule a meeting with your staff to discuss our findings in more detail.”

The comments from Facebook come just months after the company turned over thousands of ads purportedly purchased by Russian agents on the platform during the 2016 race.

“We believe it is vitally important that government authorities have the information they need to deliver to the public a full assessment of what happened in the 2016 election,” Facebook’s general counsel Colin Stretch said in a post in September. “That is an assessment that can be made only by investigators with access to classified intelligence and information from all relevant companies and industries — and we want to do our part.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also addressed reports that Russians used the social network to influence public opinion during the campaign in a video posted to the website last year.

“I don’t want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy,” he said. “That’s not what we stand for.”

Earlier this week, Democrats in the House and Senate called on Facebook and other social media sites to fight the influence of Russian bots on their platforms, warning that foreign actors were trying to influence opinion against special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into ties between Trump campaign associates and Russia.

“It is critically important that the Special Counsel’s investigation be allowed to proceed without interference from inside or outside the United States,” the lawmakers wrote. “That is why we seek your assistance in our efforts to counter Russia’s continuing efforts to manipulate public opinion and undermine American democracy and the rule of law.”

Tags Democratic Party Donald Trump Donald Trump Facebook Mark Zuckerberg Robert Mueller Robert Mueller Russian interference in the 2016 election Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Senate Senate Intelligence Commitee Social media Special counsel Twitter

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