Facebook has sent government investigators new records about Russian-linked ads placed on its service during the 2016, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The information, including copies of ads and details about accounts that bought them, was shared with special counsel Robert Mueller, the late Friday report said, citing people familiar with the matter. Mueller and a team of investigators are looking into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.
“We continue to cooperate with the relevant investigative authorities,” a Facebook spokesman said. The Department of Justice didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The move comes a week after Facebook saidthat targeted highly politicized social issues such as immigration, guns and LGBT rights.
“Our analysis suggests these accounts and Pages were affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russia,” Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer, wrote in a blog post at the time.
Facebook’s disclosure marked a new turn in the high-profile Russia investigation, which has raised issues concerning President Donald Trump’s election last year, the involvement of his children and the actions of his staff. At issue is how much the Russian government may have attempted to influence the electorate, and whether Trump or anyone working for him knowingly was involved. Trump has repeatedly denied involvement.
For its part, Silicon Valley is coming to grips with how much its services may have been used to sway the election. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who at firston the spread of false news, has now and . Those efforts include working with news organizations to identify false news, and shutting down advertising access to accounts that repeatedly spread it.
Facebook’s disclosure is bringing attention to Google and Twitter as well.
For its part, Google has said there’s no evidence such ads were purchased on its service, and a person familiar with the matter said the company hasn’t been called to testify on the topic. “We’re always monitoring for abuse or violations of our policies and we’ve seen no evidence this type of ad campaign was run on our platforms,” a Google spokesperson said.
Twitter declined to comment. In a June blog post it discussed ways it’s attempting to halt the spread of misinformation on its service, promising it was “doubling down” on the problem.
First published Sept. 15, 5:23 p.m. PT.
Update, 10:23 p.m.: Adds responses from Twitter and Google.