Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr said on Tuesday he hopes to hold the public hearing on Facebook and social media “in the next month to month and a half.”
The North Carolina Republican told CBS News the social media giant has been “incredibly helpful,” after the company acknowledged Russians purchased $100,000 in ads on its platform surrounding the 2016 presidential election, and turned over materials about those ad buys toteam. Facebook has also handed the committee a lot of records, Burr said. Last week, the company has shut down thousands of fake accounts created to attempt to influence elections around the world, and is working with the U.S. government finding ways to make political advertising more transparent.
“They have been incredibly helpful to us through this,” Burr said of Facebook. “And I think their actions just last week indicate that they believe that it’s important to get out in front of this and share as much of it as possible.”
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But Facebook isn’t the only social media company the committee needs to speak with, Burr said. His committee, along with the House Intelligence Committee and Mueller, are investigating any ties between Russian entities and Mr. Trump’s associates.
“We think that everybody in the social media space, I don’t want to single them out,” Burr said. “They just happen to be the one that we’ve had extensive conversations with, ongoing.”
Asked if there is any connection between Russians who are using Facebook and Mr. Trump’s associates, Burr dismissed any notion of collusion.
“Listen, I’ve said I don’t think this is about collusion,” Burr said. “Facebook is a company that most advertisers rely on Facebook’s information to determine what the target is.”
Burr said the goal in any social media influence was to create “chaos.”
“I think clearly there was an effort to bring some chaos to groups on the right and left,” Burr said. “So, there’s nothing that – at least preliminarily – we see that leans towards one candidate versus the other. I think there was equal money spend trying to create some type of chaos on both sides of the political – or Ideological spectrum. We’ll find more as we go in.”
CBS News’ John Nolen contributed to this report.
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Source: CBS News – Politics