After news broke of Facebookabout Russian ad buys to special counsel Robert Mueller, a new report tries to illustrate what it says the Silicon Valley giant is thinking -- while the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election intensifies.
Axios' Mike Allen spoke with unnamed tech executives to offer insight into Facebook's perspective as the company faces scrutiny and feels the heat amid fears the platform "emboldens terrorists, Russia and China" -- among other concerns.
Allen's report says the company "will argue that both tech companies and governments are in uncharted territory, and will work with lawmakers in the U.S. and around the world," but "will resist most regulation."
Facebook acknowledged this month that phony accounts appearing to have originated in Russia bought $100,000 in advertising during the The Wall Street Journal reports.cycle. The detailed information obtained by Mueller's Russia investigation includes copies of the ads and details of the purchases,
"Facebook will continue to say it can play a positive role in elections," Allen writes, "helping people communicate directly with candidates, register to vote, learn the issues, and hold governments and elected officials accountable."
"Facebook will contend that just as crime is never fully eradicated, social networks have to focus on staying ahead of people who misuse their platforms. But bad things will continue to unfold on all social networks," he writes.
Meanwhile, CBS News' Jeff Pegues reported that the extent of Russia's Facebook activity wasof an anti-immigration rally in Idaho, and a source familiar with the investigation said there are likely more "Facebook fronts" of Russians urging Americans to take action.
"I think what we've seen so far from Facebook is only the tip of the iceberg," said Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, the ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
"I think there's much more than 350-odd accounts that were involved in this process," Warner said, referring to Facebook ads linked to Russia. "I think it was much more than the simply one internet troll farm they found in St. Petersburg."
He added, "And frankly, Facebook, who prides itself on knowing more about you and me than frankly the United States government knows, I got to believe they know more about this or could find more out about it if they put adequate resources behind it."