Facebook 'grateful' for Mueller indictments 'against those who abused our service'

Facebook 'grateful' for Mueller indictments 'against those who abused our service'
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Facebook on Friday praised special counsel Robert Mueller's decision to indict a Russian “troll farm” and 13 foreign nationals over an alleged campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 election — an effort that relied heavily on the social media platform.

Facebook disclosed in September that it had sold $100,000 worth of advertisements to the Internet Research Agency, which was named in Friday’s indictment.

“We proactively disclosed the IRA activity to the Special Counsel, Congress, and the public, and have worked with them to give the public a fuller understanding of what occurred,” Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s vice president of global policy, said in a statement. “We’re grateful the US government is now taking this aggressive action against those who abused our service and exploited the openness of our democratic process.“

The indictment lays out how the group allegedly used Facebook to spread disinformation, rally voters for President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE and against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHeller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 MORE and sow discord among Americans.

"Defendants' operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump ('Trump campaign') and disparaging Hillary Clinton," the indictment reads. "Defendants made various expenditures to carry out those activities, including buying political advertisements on social media in the names of U.S. persons and entities."

Facebook’s general counsel, along with executives from Google and Twitter, were chewed out by lawmakers in a series of hearings last year over their lack of awareness of the influence operations during the election.

Since then, the company has promised reforms to prevent the platform from being so easily manipulated and check the spread of misinformation.

“We know we have more to do to prevent against future attacks,” Kaplan said Friday, noting the company’s hiring of 10,000 content moderators and its collaboration with law enforcement. “We’re committed to staying ahead of this kind of deceptive and malevolent activity going forward.”