Yesterday, Facebook finally acknowledged that it had sold around $100,000 worth of political advertising to fake accounts based out of Russia. Last night, Palmer Report wrote that it was absurd to think Russia would decide to take the risk of trying to rig the election for Donald Trump, but would then decide to only back up that effort with a bare bones amount of money (link). Sure enough, today one of the leaders of the Senate Intel Committee confirmed that this is indeed just the tip of the iceberg.
In fact, Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chair Mark Warner went so far as to use the words “tip of the iceberg” when he was addressing the matter while speaking with CNN today (link). He pointed specifically to Facebook’s longtime denial that it had sold any political ad space to Russia, followed by its admission yesterday that it had indeed done so.
Senator Warner stopped short of directly accusing Facebook of still lying about the matter, but he seemed to be strongly hinting that he knows more than he can let on. The Donald Trump campaign’s Digital Content Director has admitted on-camera to the BCC that Trump spent so many millions of dollars on Facebook advertising, representatives from Facebook visited the campaign’s offices and were “helping out” as “hands-on partners” (link). It’s still unclear why the U.S. media has yet to pick up on this major revelation from the BBC, but it may be part of what Warner is referring to when he says there’s more to come.
In any case, this one small Russian political ad buy on Facebook during the election does indeed feel like just the tip of the iceberg. It’s along the lines of the very first report that Michael Flynn had phoned the Russian Ambassador, and the first report that Donald Trump Jr had met with a Russian attorney. These initial stories always end up snowballing into major scandals once the larger details surface. The Trump-Russia-Facebook scandal is about to explode.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report