Facebook Will Likely Have to Testify About Those Russian Ads

September 19, 2017 - 2 minutes read

Any banking app developer online during last year’s contentious U.S. presidential election knows that the social media landscape was a mess. In the era of Facebook and Twitter, civic debate is now powered as much by memes and the dreaded fake news as much as it is an exchange of thoughts and ideas. But since the election, a bleaker picture has emerged. We now know that the Russian government meddled in the election, perhaps in a way that ultimately swayed it towards the loathsome Donald J. Trump. Groups from the House, Senate, and various intelligence agencies, as well as special counsel Robert Mueller, are working overtime to suss out what exactly the Russians did to American democracy. Now members of Trump’s own team are being investigated to determine whether or not there was collusion.

Now attention is turning towards Facebook too. Banking app developers are likely familiar with recent reports indicating that the Russians spent $100,000 on political ads during the 2016 election. These ads, which are still under wraps to the public, were specifically designed to “amplify divisive social and political messages.” Facebook has already provided Special Counsel Robert Mueller with information regarding the ads in question. This week, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, California’s own Adam Schiff, is dogging the social media platform, calling for Facebook to testify before the committee.

“We need to know the full extent of their use of social media to influence us from Facebook, from Twitter, from Google, from any social media or search engine,” Schiff said before stating that he believed Facebook needed to testify. Given that the social media behemoth has already handed over information to Mueller (and that Mark Zuckerberg may be eyeing political office), it seems highly likely that Facebook will cooperate. Los Angeles banking app developers are split over how culpable Facebook is in this situation. Whatever comes out of these investigations though, expect Facebook’s ad buying policies to be a little stricter in 2020.

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