Facebook's Sandberg favours release of Russia-linked ads


Facebook's Sandberg favours release of Russia-linked ads

The leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee's Russian Federation investigation said Wednesday they intend to publicly release thousands of politically divisive Facebook ads purchased by Russian Federation during last year's presidential election.

Meanwhile, Congress has started multiple investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election, with lawmakers on both sides saying Russia meant to sow discord in the USA, spread propaganda and sway the election to elect Donald Trump.

Conaway and Schiff said after the meeting that they expect to eventually release the Facebook ads.

One of Facebook's top executives met Wednesday with House members investigating the company's Russia-linked ads and told them the social media giant is serious about dealing with the issue.

"Things happened on our platform in this election that should not have happened", Sandberg said during an interview in Washington with the Axios news website.

Schiff said Sandberg wanted to convey that the company is serious about the issue to members of Congress, some of whom have expressed concerns that the company was reluctant to share information and ensure that foreign governments don't wage information campaigns in USA elections.

That's a break from the Senate intelligence committee, which had said it won't release them.

Axios asked Sandberg what the world's largest social network knew about the extent of Russia's use of its platform and if ads on Facebook that had been placed by Russian accounts and Donald Trump's presidential campaign had overlapped in terms of target audiences.

Officials from Facebook and the committee did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

For her part, Sandberg's meeting with panel leaders is part of a full-court blitz of Washington, D.C. this week.

Sandberg acknowledged that the company had erred in how it handled the issue of foreign interference past year. "But what we really owe the American people is determination to do a better job of preventing foreign meddling", she said.

He said Sandberg also indicated the company wants the help of the intelligence community to identify who may be using Facebook for those reasons.

"When you allow free expression, you allow free expression", she said.

Moreover, Sandberg said she disagreed with Twitter's initial decision to take down Congressional candidate Marsha Blackburn's campaign ad because it included "an inflammatory statement that is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction".

Citing a person familiar with the matter, Reuters reports that Russian operatives invested tens of thousands of dollars on ads on Gmail, YouTube and Google Search products.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is also holding an open hearing with the three companies that day.



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