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Source: Russian app had access to data of millions of US Facebook users

CNN's Drew Griffin reports.

Posted: Jul 12, 2018 11:17 AM
Updated: Jul 12, 2018 11:28 AM

The top Democrats on the Senate and House intelligence committees said this week that Facebook's relationship with a Russian internet conglomerate warrant further scrutiny.

Sen. Mark Warner and Rep. Adam Schiff were commenting on a CNN report published Tuesday detailing how the Mail.Ru Group, a company with ties to the Kremlin, developed applications that allowed it to gather data on Facebook users without their explicit knowledge.

Schiff told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room" Wednesday that his committee was not aware of the company's access to Facebook data before it was reported by CNN.

He expressed concern that data accessed by Mail.Ru could have been obtained by the Russian government, saying, "if the Kremlin take interest in data of any Russian company has, those Russian companies are not in a position to say 'no.'"

Warner told CNN in a statement on Tuesday, "Now we learn that the largest technology company in Russia, whose executives boast close ties to Vladimir Putin, had potentially hundreds of apps integrated with Facebook, collecting user data. If this is accurate, we need to determine what user information was shared with mail.ru and what may have been done with the captured data."

Facebook apps have attracted scrutiny after it was widely reported earlier this year that an app developer working for Cambridge Analytica in 2014 built an online survey that gathered and harvested data on tens of millions of Americans, most of whom had never downloaded or taken the survey. Cambridge Analytica went on to work for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

The Mail.Ru Group built hundreds of Facebook apps, Facebook confirmed to CNN on Tuesday.

The company says it has found no evidence that the Mail.Ru Group had misused Facebook user data but acknowledged that the investigation is continuing and would not answer if Facebook even has the ability to determine how the Russian company used data derived its platform.

The Mail.Ru Group told CNN it acted in accordance with Facebook's terms and conditions and said it "never harvested any data" from Facebook.

Mail.Ru Group is controlled by USM Holdings, a company founded by Alisher Usmanov, who was included on a list the US Treasury Department published in January of Russian billionaires with ties to the Kremlin.

Russian investor Yuri Milner was the chairman of Mail.Ru Group until he stepped down in 2012. Milner told Forbes he served as a member of then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's innovation commission from 2009 to 2011.

The New York Times reported last year that Milner invested in Facebook and Twitter with hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian state institutions funneled through offshore shell companies, though Milner's companies have since sold those holdings. In interviews for that report, Milner said the Russian government money was no different from other international investments, and he said he focuses on business and philanthropy, not politics.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 67649

Reported Deaths: 1912
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5613118
DeSoto365831
Harrison252036
Madison242266
Rankin228334
Jackson227642
Jones189958
Forrest180656
Washington166341
Lee146241
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Lamar122014
Oktibbeha112239
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Warren109333
Lowndes107737
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Scott100320
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Copiah95428
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Holmes89248
Grenada84721
Yazoo83112
Pontotoc8278
Lincoln81741
Monroe79655
Simpson79630
Leake78825
Wayne76721
Coahoma76013
Tate73429
Marshall6959
Marion67720
Union63616
Adams62325
Winston62016
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George5815
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Newton54211
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Attala52225
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Calhoun4189
Tishomingo4175
Prentiss41210
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Smith40513
Clay39614
Hancock39014
Jasper3869
Tippah36613
Itawamba35910
Tunica3377
Clarke32726
Montgomery3265
Lawrence3238
Yalobusha31510
Humphreys29311
Quitman2691
Carroll26111
Greene25012
Perry2367
Webster23412
Kemper23314
Amite2326
Jefferson Davis2316
Wilkinson21213
Stone1995
Sharkey1975
Jefferson1967
Benton1441
Choctaw1344
Franklin1272
Issaquena261
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 99390

Reported Deaths: 1733
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13109243
Mobile9947207
Montgomery6835148
Madison537834
Tuscaloosa421373
Unassigned359961
Baldwin354425
Shelby328335
Marshall316736
Lee267845
Morgan239318
Etowah212131
DeKalb181913
Calhoun178414
Elmore172338
Walker152664
Houston139812
Russell13682
St. Clair133817
Limestone133313
Dallas132323
Franklin127420
Cullman122512
Colbert118113
Autauga116921
Lauderdale116719
Escambia108217
Talladega102614
Jackson9894
Tallapoosa85579
Chambers84138
Dale83424
Blount8004
Chilton7926
Butler76436
Coffee7616
Covington73520
Pike7097
Clarke6629
Barbour5755
Marion57424
Lowndes57224
Marengo55215
Hale47626
Bullock46411
Winston45311
Perry4424
Bibb4385
Wilcox42910
Monroe4214
Randolph40110
Pickens4009
Conecuh39310
Washington39112
Sumter36018
Lawrence3491
Macon33514
Crenshaw3185
Choctaw28312
Cherokee2737
Henry2633
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Clay2585
Greene25111
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Fayette2075
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