Published: Thu, October 05, 2017
Technology | By Russell Knight

Suspected Russian Facebook Ads Were Targeted to Specific States

Suspected Russian Facebook Ads Were Targeted to Specific States

Warner and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, held a press conference to a packed room of journalists on Capitol Hill. "And I would tell you the fact that we're sitting here nine months later investigating it, they have been pretty darn successful".

Burr said that the "subject matter of the ads seemed to be to create chaos in every group they could possibly find in America", noting that the ads show that the Russians "were indiscriminate" in who they were helping.

The assessment concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign to undermine the US election and favor then-candidate Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.

The committee is still investigating whether the Russians had any coordination with members of Trump's campaign, and he suggested that they were still examining just how Russians knew where to target social media spots. The first is for Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, who had been scheduled for a private staff interview last month, but the committee postponed the appearance and invited him to a public session instead after Cohen provided a statement to the media denying any collusion with Russian officials.

"You can not walk away from this and believe that Russian Federation is not now active in trying to create chaos in our election process", Burr said. The president, however, has not said he believes them.

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Facebook said it had 17,048 employees at the end of 2016, excluding contractors.

One witness the politicians say they have been unable to question is Christopher Steele, a former British spy believed to have compiled a dossier of allegations about Mr Trump's connections to Russian Federation.

CNN reported on Wednesday that several Russian-linked Facebook ads, specifically targeted two critical swing states in the election campaign, MI and Wisconsin, and were "highly sophisticated" in focusing on key demographic groups in those states.

More recently investigators for the committee and the House Intelligence Committee have sharpened their attention on Russia's use of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

Last week, Mr Burr said there is no evidence of anything so far connecting Mr Trump's campaign and Russian interference.

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Committee staffers have been working 6 to 7 days a week since January on the investigation and have interviewed more than 100 people related to Russia's meddling in the election.

One quarter of the 3,400 Russian-linked Facebook ads are believed to have been geographically targeted.

A spokesman for special counsel Robert Mueller declined comment. Burr and Warner said the government must be proactive ahead of next year's midterm elections.

"I think we will address a lot of things on Wednesday at our press conference", Burr said.

Warner said that representatives from Twitter, Facebook, and Google have been invited to testify at a November 1 public hearing before the committee. Kaplan said the company would require more documentation from advertisers who want to run advertisements related to the U.S. election.

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