Could Facebook Inc find itself caught in the middle of the Trump-Russia scandal? It certainly appears so. News about the world’s largest social network testifying to U.S. congress takes center stage this week. Leading Democrats covering the House and Senate investigation on Russia strongly disagree with a top Trump campaign staff member. The disagreement is on whether there was any collusion with Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russia in the events that put the current U.S. president in office.
However, reports say Mark Zuckerberg’s leading online platform can give everyone the answers they need. The week brings news about a chance that Facebook might be called forward to spill the beans.
Mark Warner, a U.S. Senator in Virginia, is convinced that Facebook can help clear things up. Warner is the leading Democrat on the committee of Senate Intelligence. He got together with officials from Facebook back in June as a part of a look into Russia-related help or interference. The event was far from fruitless for the senator.
Warner seeks to discover the truth behind widespread claims about Russia injecting itself into Trump’s election. The popular theory among Dems is that Russia did this by pushing out fake news on Facebook. Much of these alleged fake news stories were intentionally out to defame Hillary Clinton and polish the appearance of Trump.
Warner is avidly convinced that whether Russia promoted anti-Clinton news among likely voters of the Trump rival can be deduced by Facebook.
The complexity of Russia trickery
In the event that the former Soviet state knew exactly what it was doing, Warner has one burning question. That is, how did the Russians push out area-focused misinformation to voters on aspects that they were not fully familiar with. “I don’t feel like I have run that to ground yet,” the senator told CNN. His goals in this is regard is to find out how this is done. In addition to that, it would be great to know how to stop such interference from happening again in the future.
The lingering insinuation is that Russia got help from someone very close to Donald Trump or his campaign. Cue House investigators and their interest in Brad Parscale. He was the digital campaign director during the now U.S. president’s bid for the White House. The Democratic committee’s agenda is to find out whether Parscale knew or played any role in the Russia-promoted news stories.
Members of the Trump campaign team say that Facebook should be able to clear things up. That will require a Facebook representative to testify in front of congress though. Gary Coby also worked with the campaign team as a digital staffer. He claims that if anyone can set the record straight, it is the people of platform used to promote the alleged fake news stories. After all, Facebook worked along with Trump’s digital staff in certain cases.
However, Parscale himself says the allegations are all bogus. He announced last week that he plans to testify before senators. Yet he reiterates knowing nothing about any involvement between his campaign team and Russia.
Facebook Inc and the Trump campaign
Facebook Inc confirms that it has been in touch with numerous govt. officials. A spokesperson went on to confirm that Senator Warner has met up with the company in regards to the 2016 election. The company says it will continue to work with officials on the matter. However, as the company has said before, it reiterates that it has no evidence to suggest Russian interference.
Brett Horvath says Facebook definitely can find out if fake news stories were promoted on its platform. He is an expert on social media technology and was interviewed by the staff of the Senate intelligence. According to Horvath, Russia might have successfully got to swing voters without Facebook knowing. He says it is all in the data.
“Facebook has all the data that could prove this is happening or not happening,” he says. “That’s the starting point. The tech companies, the vendors as we call them, all had people assigned to help us. Coby highlights involvement from across the social media spectrum. Google, Twitter and Facebook were all cited by the expert, who worked with the Trump team too. “Since we were spending so much with Facebook we worked with the Facebook team the most. We were staring from scratch and welcomed all the help we could get.”
Will Facebook Inc agree?
Despite the cooperative stance Facebook Inc has on the matter, getting answers from the platform might not be so easy. The company has refused to fully cooperate in the past, often in the name of personal privacy and free speech. A big clash with the social media giant took place in 2015. Back then, the Senate Intelligence committee was after answers related terrorist activity.
Facebook Inc has admitted to the surge of fake news on its platform though. The cite was additionally vigilant when the French elections came around and took down some 30,000 fake accounts.