Democratic Senator Thinks 3,000 'Russian-Linked' Facebook Ads Changed Election

Man, those Democrats are really going all in on the whole "the Russians stole the election" thing.

Sen. Mark Warner, Virginia Democrat, said this week that 3,000 Russian-linked Facebook ads were deployed — adding that exactly how it was done is the "million-dollar question." He wants to know just how the Russians knew whom to target on Facebook.

"Did they know this just by following political news in America? Did they geo-target both geography and by demographics in ways that at least at first blush appear pretty sophisticated? These are the kind of questions that we need to get answered and that's why we need them in a public hearing," Warner told CNN.

So, just to trim this down, Warner is saying the 3,000 ads that Facebook says were connected to 450 inauthentic accounts could have swung the election to Donald Trump, presumably in swing states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.

And he's the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee (which we realize is an oxymoron).

Facebook last week agreed to turn over the ads to both the House and Senate intelligence committees. Warner said it's "too early to tell" if anyone from the Trump campaign was involved with the ads.

"I raised this issue back last winter at that point Facebook was dismissive that there was anything there. We've now seen that there was a lot there in terms of paid advertising, fake accounts, pushing people towards rallies, trying to sow division and chaos," Warner said. "And that's why I'm anxious to review the materials they are sending in to the committee."

Sen. Richard Burr, North Carolina Republican and chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the real effort appears to have been creating general chaos before the election. Burr said he "wants to have a public hearing with Facebook and other social media companies as early as next month," CNN wrote.

Earlier this month, the federal government told election officials in 21 states that "hackers targeted their systems before last year’s presidential election," the Associated Press reported.

The notification came roughly a year after U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials first said states were targeted by hacking efforts possibly connected to Russia. The states that told The Associated Press they had been targeted included some key political battlegrounds, such as Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The AP contacted every state election office to determine which ones had been informed that their election systems had been targeted. The others confirming were Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

But the AP notes that in most cases, state election officials said that the activity was “preparatory activity such as scanning computer systems,” and that “attempts to compromise networks” were mostly unsuccessful.

In most cases, states said they were told the systems were not breached.

Um, so the criminals walked around the house, saw it was locked up tight and — moved on? How exactly did that change the 2016 election outcome?

Meanwhile, President Trump thinks Facebook was actively working against him.

But, he said, it just didn't work.


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