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

CNN's Drew Griffin reports.

Posted: Jul 12, 2018 10:58 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.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 58640

Reported Deaths: 1677
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin18641828
Ramsey7233261
Dakota4188104
Anoka3515114
Stearns286420
Washington200944
Nobles17536
Olmsted168823
Scott147918
Mower10942
Rice10138
Blue Earth8745
Wright8475
Carver8162
Clay76840
Sherburne7037
Kandiyohi6871
St. Louis48619
Todd4222
Lyon4213
Freeborn3581
Steele3381
Nicollet32913
Benton3153
Watonwan3010
Winona25416
Crow Wing22514
Beltrami2150
Le Sueur2101
Martin2045
Chisago1891
Goodhue1878
Otter Tail1853
Cottonwood1750
Becker1501
McLeod1480
Pipestone1479
Polk1453
Waseca1380
Douglas1360
Itasca13512
Carlton1320
Unassigned13241
Pine1280
Dodge1250
Murray1221
Isanti1160
Chippewa1011
Wabasha870
Brown862
Meeker852
Morrison851
Faribault830
Sibley822
Rock770
Koochiching743
Pennington731
Jackson720
Cass712
Mille Lacs693
Renville625
Fillmore610
Lincoln540
Grant523
Swift521
Yellow Medicine510
Pope460
Roseau460
Houston410
Norman370
Kanabec321
Redwood320
Wilkin323
Hubbard300
Aitkin291
Marshall290
Mahnomen261
Wadena240
Red Lake230
Big Stone220
Lake200
Stevens170
Clearwater150
Traverse100
Lac qui Parle60
Kittson30
Cook20
Lake of the Woods10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 47424

Reported Deaths: 910
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10032206
Woodbury369151
Black Hawk308463
Linn227987
Johnson202116
Dallas184635
Buena Vista179112
Scott165514
Dubuque162331
Marshall142525
Pottawattamie128426
Story114114
Wapello87233
Muscatine84048
Webster7727
Crawford7263
Sioux6143
Cerro Gordo59617
Warren5471
Tama54529
Jasper46626
Wright4551
Plymouth4528
Louisa38014
Dickinson3774
Clinton3623
Washington29310
Boone2442
Hamilton2441
Franklin2339
Bremer2037
Clarke1953
Emmet1882
Carroll1851
Shelby1771
Clay1761
Hardin1730
Marion1620
Allamakee1544
Poweshiek1538
Des Moines1522
Jackson1481
Benton1461
Floyd1432
Mahaska13917
Guthrie1315
Cedar1281
Jones1272
Buchanan1231
Hancock1212
Butler1192
Henry1193
Pocahontas1151
Madison1142
Lyon1092
Lee1073
Cherokee1031
Clayton1023
Harrison1020
Humboldt1001
Delaware991
Taylor960
Iowa941
Monona910
Winneshiek911
Mills850
Page850
Calhoun832
Kossuth830
Sac820
Fayette810
Jefferson800
Palo Alto800
Osceola790
Mitchell780
Winnebago770
Grundy761
Union751
Monroe697
Worth650
Lucas574
Chickasaw540
Montgomery534
Davis521
Cass501
Howard490
Appanoose473
Greene390
Fremont370
Van Buren341
Keokuk331
Ida290
Audubon281
Adair270
Decatur230
Ringgold211
Wayne191
Adams160
Unassigned30
Rochester
Scattered Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 63°
Mason City
Scattered Clouds
62° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 62°
Albert Lea
Scattered Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 64°
Austin
66° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 66°
Charles City
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 64°
Warming temps and rain inbound
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Controlling Rochester's Geese Population

Image

Chalk the Walk festival happening next weekend in Rochester

Image

Running for a cause

Image

Enjoying a Socially Distanced Concert

Image

Albert Lea Community Theater to halt production until next year

Image

Sara's 10pm Forecast - Thursday

Image

Tractor Pull Motors On

Image

Klobuchar Pushes Legislation for Mental Health Funding

Image

North Iowa shelter no longer in quarantine

Image

Sara's 6pm Forecast - Thursday

Community Events