House Intelligence Committee to make public Russia-linked Facebook ads

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Says Will Release The Russia Linked Ads To Investigators

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said Thursday she "absolutely" supports the public release of all advertisements produced by a Russia-linked organization during the 2016 presidential election.

Russia's election meddling is being investigated by multiple congressional panels as well as an independent Justice Department probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said last month that the company would begin treating political ads differently from other ads, including by making it possible for anyone to see political ads, no matter whom they target.

Facebook had previously agreed to disclose the thousands of Facebook ads to congress. Sandberg said Thursday she thinks "it's important that [the investigators] get the whole picture and explain that to the American people".

Without offering specifics, Sandberg said that "things happened on our platform in this election that should not have happened - especially, and very troubling, [sic] foreign interference in a democratic election".

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

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.

Allen repeatedly asked Sandberg when the social network found out about the ads - and Sandberg eventually said the company had heard about the ads around the time of the U.S. election.

Disclosures by Facebook, Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google that their products were battlegrounds for Russian election meddling a year ago have turned into a crisis for Silicon Valley.

Sandberg held an additional meeting with Schiff, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and No. 2 House Democrat Steny Hoyer of Maryland.

Wednesday's meetings are ahead of a November 1 House Intelligence Committee hearing at which Facebook, Twitter and Google are expected to testify.

Sandberg said, according to Schiff, that Facebook is 'determined to take whatever steps are necessary to ferret out foreign actors creating fake identities and using their platform'.

She also criticized Twitter's decision this week to remove a campaign video from Republican Representative Marsha Blackburn, who is running for Senate in Tennessee.

"The hard thing about that question is, are we saying the answer, are we saying we don't have responsibility, so I want to be really clear", Sandberg said.

Sandberg's comments come a day after the outgoing boss of the UK's media regulator, Dame Patricia Hodgson, said both Google and Facebook were publishers in her view.

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