Continually over the past months, Facebook’s role in the discussion of Russian interference in US elections has grown. Facebook disclosed that fake accounts and pages had paid the social media giant over $100,000 during the 2016 presidential election cycle. These accounts purchased 3,000 ads, largely for the purpose of spreading false information about Hillary Clinton.
The ad purchasers were, as expected, Russian. Now Robert Mueller has reportedly obtained a search warrant for records of the fake accounts that Facebook claims to have shut down earlier this month.
Wall Street Journal was the first to report on this issue, “Facebook Inc. has handed over to special counsel Robert Mueller detailed records about the Russian ad purchases on its platform that go beyond what the company shared with Congress last week, according to people familiar with the matter.”
Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, says reports that special counsel Robert Mueller got a search warrant for Facebook content could be “the biggest news” related to since the raid on Paul Manafort’s home.
Knowing now that not only did Facebook comply with Mueller’s warrant, but that the company turned over more detailed information than that which they turned over to Congress is excellent news.
There are still obstinate deniers that Russia interfered with the 2016 president election, all of the intelligence to the contrary. Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Sean Spicer have done everything they can to frame this investigation as equal parts conspiracy theory fodder and media bullying.
The more information Russia can get that directly supports Russian interference, whether through making deals or disseminating false information propaganda-style.
There are some who simply will not be convinced. After all, an astonishing number of Republicans still believe former president Obama was not born in the United States.