Donald Trump attacks Hillary Clinton and 'fake news' amid probe into Russian-bought Facebook ads

'Facebook was on her side, not mine' says President following reports that $100,000 worth of ads were sold to Russian company with Kremlin links

Rachel Roberts
Sunday 22 October 2017 00:02 BST
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Donald Trump has gone on a Twitter offensive, attacking Hillary Clinton and claiming Facebook was more on her side than his during the presidential campaign
Donald Trump has gone on a Twitter offensive, attacking Hillary Clinton and claiming Facebook was more on her side than his during the presidential campaign (AP)

Donald Trump has gone on yet another Twitter tirade, this time attacking Hillary Clinton and Facebook after claims Russian-bought Facebook adverts were used to support his presidential campaign.

Downplaying the significance of the ads, which many investigating politicians and law-enforcement agents believe were intended to influence the election result, Mr Trump went on the offensive.

“Crooked Hillary Clinton spent hundreds of millions of dollars more on Presidential Election than I did. Facebook was on her side, not mine!” he said.

Another tweet read: “Keep hearing about ‘tiny’ amounts of money spent on Facebook ads. What about the billions of dollars of Fake News on CNN, ABC, NBC and CBS?”

Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg last week admitted the company made mistakes during the 2016 campaign, including selling more than $100,000 (£76,000) in ads to a Russian company linked to the Kremlin.

Separate investigations led by the intelligence committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives are reviewing the Facebook advertisements used by both candidates as they attempt to probe the alleged Russia ties.

Some believe the intention was to lower the turnout by discrediting Ms Clinton, with Russian “troll factories” allegedly paying people to spread fake news stories across social media around the clock.

Google reportedly sold at least $4,700 (£3,600) worth of ads to accounts believed to be tied to the Russian government, according to the New York Times.

More than 3,000 Russian-bought adverts turned over to Congress by Facebook are currently being examined.

“Their aim was to sow chaos,” said Democratic Senator Mark R Warner, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“In many cases, it was more about voter suppression rather than increasing turnout.”

Republican Senator John McCain and two Democratic senators have put forward a bill that would force Facebook, Google and others to disclose who is purchasing online political advertising.

Mr Trump also revisited the topic of the so-called “dirty dossier” leaked by the media and containing unsubstantiated allegations of the existence of a Russian sex blackmail tape against him.

Suggesting the dossier, believed to have been compiled by British spy Christopher Steele, had been a put-up job, he said: “Officials behind the now discredited ‘Dossier’ plead the Fifth. Justice Department and/or FBI should immediately release who paid for it.”

To plead the fifth refers to the constitutional right in the US to remain silent when under arrest in order to avoid incriminating oneself.

This week, Mr Trump blasted two officials of a Democrat-aligned opposition research firm, Fusion, who refused to testify before the House Intelligence Committee about the sensational dossier.

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