CNN Panel Calls for Government Action to Deal With Russian ‘Trolls’ on Facebook


Several CNN commentators argued for stricter regulation of speech on the Internet during a segment Monday night in which they discussed Russian activity online.

Former deputy director of the CIA's counterterrorist center and the FBI's national security branch Philip Mudd advocated for real-time countermeasures against Russian content on Facebook. He was responding to a new report that Facebook executives believe as many as 126 million people saw content generated by Russian "troll farms" on the social media site.

"I can't overestimate the significance of this," Mudd said. "What's happening now in terms of these revelations about Facebook has to twist government on its head."

He said U.S. intelligence agencies would have to coordinate with Facebook directly to deal with this threat and "take this stuff off the Internet."

"Facebook real time—I'm not talking about 30 days, I'm talking about real time—can take stuff off the internet," Mudd said. "We need a war room where the National Security Agency and the CIA and FBI are together with Facebook."

"They have to get this stuff off the internet," he added.

Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin declared the American media environment a "brave new world." He said Facebook must now assume a heightened responsibility for American political integrity.

"Facebook is making a very slow and cautious start, but they have a big responsibility for how American politics works now, and they really haven't stepped up so far," Toobin said.

Gloria Borger added that the news about Facebook gives her "a sense of the enormity of what the Russians were trying to do here."

Commentators at MSNBC have also called for similar action in the interest of solving the problem of "fake news" on the Internet. Last year, panelists on "Morning Joe" had a similar conversation, and co-host Mika Brzezinski said there had to be "some sort of constraints" on such stories.

Paul Crookston

Paul Crookston   Email Paul | Full Bio | RSS
Paul Crookston is a media analyst with the Washington Free Beacon. He was previously a Collegiate Network fellow at National Review. A 2016 graduate of Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., he served as the managing editor of the Tartan campus newspaper. He is originally from Tampa, Fla., but he still roots for Dad’s Ohio teams. His Twitter handle is @P_Crookston. He can be reached at

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