Facebook is facing intense political fallout and thorny legal questions a day after confirming that Russian funds paid for advertising on the social media platform aimed at influencing voters during last year’s presidential election. Mark Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Thursday he hopes to call executives from Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies to testify publicly about what role their companies may have played, however unwittingly, in the wider Kremlin effort to manipulate the 2016 White House race. “I think we may just be seeing the tip of the iceberg,” the Virginia Democrat told reporters in response to Facebook’s Wednesday disclosure that apparent Russian-tied accounts spent some $150,000 on more than 5,200 political ads last year. Warner said Facebook’s disclosure was based only on a “fairly narrow search” for suspicious ad-buying accounts.
Facebook was also the target of a 20-minute monologue by the MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night, in which she pointedly noted the company’s past denials to media outlets including Time, McClatchy and CNN that it had found any Russian-bought ads.
“It raises very interesting questions about Facebook accepting that money to influence the U.S. election without noticing that it was from a foreign source,” she said, adding the Russian purchasers and Americans who knew about the ad buys were now exposed to criminal proceedings.
Full Article: Facebook faces backlash over Russian meddling – POLITICO.