• Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election by sowing dissent that divided voters
  • Americans are worried Moscow is doing the same thing this time
  • Facebook says it finds no evidence of interference on Bernie Sanders' behalf

Facebook said Monday it could find no evidence Russia is trying to support Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The Wall Street Journal, quoting people familiar with the Facebook investigation, said it was unclear whether the investigation was still ongoing.

A Pew Research Center survey indicates 74% of Americans have little confidence Facebook or other social media platforms can prevent bad actors from using them to interfere in the 2020 election.

Sanders last week acknowledged he had been told by intelligence officials Russian actors were attempting to interfere in the 2020 election on his behalf.

“Unlike Donald Trump, I do not consider Vladimir Putin a good friend. He is an autocratic thug who is attempting to destroy democracy and crush dissent in Russia. Let’s be clear, the Russians want to undermine American democracy by dividing us up and, unlike the current president, I stand firmly against their efforts, and any other foreign power that wants to interfere in our election,” Sanders said in a press release emailed to IBTimes.

Facebook spokesman Andy Stone told the Journal the company investigates every credible claim.

“To date, we have not been able to substantiate the researcher’s claim and we have not been notified by the intelligence community,” Stone said.

He added: “Had we found a campaign of coordinated inauthentic behavior, we would’ve removed it and announced it publicly, just as we did more than 50 times last year.”

Independent online disinformation researchers said they had found evidence of “inauthentic pro-Sanders activity” on Facebook with links to Russian operatives or Trump supporters, the Journal said.

The Pew January survey indicated Republicans, Democrats and independents all have their doubts about the ability of social media platforms to keep Russian trolls out of the election, with Democrats slightly more worried than Republicans. Some 78% said technology companies have a responsibility to prevent misuse of their platforms.

President Trump last week rejected reports of an intelligence briefing to lawmakers outlining the Russian election interference, calling it a “misinformation campaign” cooked up by Democrats.

The Russian military conducted a disinformation campaign on social media on Trump's behalf during the 2016 presidential election, a special prosecutor and congressional investigations found -- conclusions also rejected by Trump.