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The Mueller investigation

As the Mueller investigation into Russian interference unfolds and Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort faces charges, many Americans are concerned about social media use by politicians.

Special+Counsel+Robert+Mueller+was+named+Special+Counsel+to+investigate+supposed+Russian+meddling+in+the+2016+election+shortly+after+Comey%E2%80%99s+firing.+Photo+permission+from+Wikimedia+Commons.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller was named Special Counsel to investigate supposed Russian meddling in the 2016 election shortly after Comey’s firing. Photo permission from Wikimedia Commons.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller was named Special Counsel to investigate supposed Russian meddling in the 2016 election shortly after Comey’s firing. Photo permission from Wikimedia Commons.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller was named Special Counsel to investigate supposed Russian meddling in the 2016 election shortly after Comey’s firing. Photo permission from Wikimedia Commons.

Sophie Stephens, Feature Editor

Social media has become one of the biggest hobbies in American culture. Smartphones with social media apps are always on hand, and with connection virtually anywhere it’s easy to be sucked into Facebook or Twitter feeds and get caught up in the latest drama through Instagram, Snapchat and more.

Because of this huge spike in social media and internet activity, especially in younger generations, large corporations have transitioned online to share ads in order to reach wider audiences. Ads, including a variety of simply-worded advertisements, videos or other interactive elements have become a norm when scrolling through social media. An article by Red Crow Marketing found that on average Americans see between 4,000 and 10,000 ads per day.

On Oct. 30, Americans began to see the dangers that social media addiction can cause when the Trump administration’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort pled guilty to lying to the FBI about possible connections to Russia. Further investigation found that Russia may have been tampering with the election by providing fake advertisements through Facebook that may have swayed the 2016 election votes towards Trump.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, predecessor to ex-FBI director James Comey, was named Special Counsel to investigate supposed Russian meddling in the 2016 election shortly after Comey’s firing. Having been the second-longest FBI director from the Sept. 11 attacks through 2013, the appointment of Mueller into this position was non-political and supported.

The investigation started this past July when Donald Trump Jr. was called in to give a statement regarding Russian involvement. Although still ongoing, the growing investigation may have found that top Trump campaign officials and top Russian figures may have been in contact.

Recently, Senior Adviser to Trump, Jared Kushner, voluntarily turned over documents to Mueller’s team as stronger investigation into his role in the firing of Comey ensues. Along with Manafort’s plea, he was indicted on twelve counts including money laundering and conspiracy against the U.S. with Rick Gates, a business associate of Manafort’s who also worked with the Trump campaign team. George Papadopoulos, former foreign policy advisor to Trump, also pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in regards to Russian meddling during the election.

Although little information has been released so far about the ongoing investigation, major news sources like ABC, CNN and FOX News have been doing their own investigations. Facebook has not given a statement on the issue, but with Mueller’s research into Facebook’s role he uncovered that Facebook sold nearly $100,000 worth of ad space to Russian groups possibly connected to the Kremlin, which were used under a variety of different named businesses for various advertisements about gay rights, race or gun rights. These advertisements were used with a push-poll technique in mind, where the content shown in these ads was used to persuade voters to lean towards Trump instead of Clinton without even knowing it was happening.

More information will be provided as the investigation continues.

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The Mueller investigation