Senate Intelligence Heads Warn Russia May Try to Meddle in 2018 Elections

Kristi Paul
October 5, 2017

Facebook Inc plans to hire 1,000 more people to review ads and ensure they meet its terms, as part of an effort to deter Russian Federation and other countries from using the social media network to interfere in others' elections, it said on Monday.

Burr said the Senate investigation started with three goals: evaluating the intelligence community assessment, determining if campaigns colluded and looking into ongoing Russian efforts to influence elections. While the senators confirmed Russian interference, they stopped short of saying Moscow acted specifically to ensure Trump would win the White House.

Earlier this week, Facebook turned over more than 3,000 Russian-linked ads to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and Senate Judiciary Committee, along with related impression and targeting data and payment information.

Facebook officials have said that 10 million people saw Russia-linked advertising that sought to sway the US presidential election on the social media platform, and 44 percent of those were seen before the election.

Facebook has not made the ads public, but said that they have identified about 3,000 ads, primarily those that are issue-oriented rather than advocating for a specific candidate.

"There are concerns we continue to pursue of collusion" between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, he said. "I won't tell you that it's going to be a preliminary report, but I think we'll get into things that we're either close to closing the book on or we have closed the book on".

Richard Burr, the chairman of the committee, said during a press conference at the Capitol.

CNN reported earlier this year that USA intelligence officials collaborated some aspects of Christopher Steele's findings though not some of the more salacious allegations like the link between Trump and Russian prostitutes.

Twitter's presentation "showed an enormous lack of understanding from the Twitter team of how serious this issue is, the threat it poses to democratic institutions and again begs many more questions than they offered", Warner said.

The committee generally endorses the intelligence community's conclusions, he said.

"If we use exclusively the social media advertising that we have seen, there's no way you can look at that and say that was to help the right side of the ideological chart and not the left, or vice versa".

"We don't release documents provided by to our committee, period", Burr said.

Warner also said that the Russian intelligence service activities did not end with the USA presidential election on November 8 and that similar acts continued ahead of political elections in Montenegro, Belgium, France, and Germany. Facebook said Wednesday that it had accepted invitations from both committees. The committee plans to hear open public testimony from Facebook, Twitter and Google on November 1 pertaining to their role in selling political ads to Russian government entities and fostering an environment in which shadowy foreign-funded political propaganda efforts could thrive.

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