Al Franken Tears Into Facebook Counsel at Senate Hearing

“You can’t put together rubles with a political ad?”

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Newscom via ZUMA

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today investigating Russian interference on social-media platforms during the 2016 election, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) tore into Facebook’s general counsel, Colin Stretch, over Russian ads on the platform. 

“How did Facebook, which prides itself on being able to process billions of data points and instantly transform them into personal connections for its users, somehow not make the connection that electoral ads paid for in rubles were coming from Russia?” an incredulous Franken asked Stretch. “Those are two data points! American political ads, and Russian money, rubles. How could you not connect those two dots?

When Stretch tried to explain Facebook’s efforts to address the issues, acknowledging that Facebook, “in hindsight, should have had a broader lens,” and that “signals were missed,” Franken immediately shot back: “People are buying ads on your platforms with rubles…You put billions of data points together all the time. You can’t put together rubles with a political ad and go, hmm, those two data points spell out something bad?” 

Watch the heated exchange here: 

Legal representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google have begun testifying this week on Russian interference on their platforms.