Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
IT | By Jonathon Greene

House intel committee will release Russian-funded Facebook ads

House intel committee will release Russian-funded Facebook ads

Sheryl Sandberg was interviewed by Axios' Mike Allen in Washington D.C. on Thursday about campaign ads that Russians purchased on Facebook during the USA election in 2016.

Facebook has handed over the contents of the ads to congressional investigators probing Moscow's alleged meddling in the election, as well as potential collusion between Kremlin officials and members of the Trump campaign team.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg says she wished Facebook had sooner discovered that Russians had bought ad campaigns on the site with the intention of influencing the U.S. site.

"We've asked for Facebook's help to scrub any personally identifiable information, but it's our hope that when that concludes we can release them publicly", Schiff said.

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

In addition to Facebook, Alphabet's GOOGL.O Google and Twitter TWTR.N have recently detected that suspected Russian operatives used their platforms past year to purchase ads and post content that was politically divisive.

The interview with Sandberg came during a multi-day visit to Washington that included meetings with United States lawmakers. Russian Federation apparently took advantage of controversies surrounding Hillary Clinton [the email scandal that rocked her campaign], and further dug in with the said ads bought from some Silicon Valley giants.

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'.

Sandberg acknowledged that the company had erred in how it handled the issue of foreign interference past year.

"I think we should seek to facilitate when the intelligence community identifies the Russians are using this platform in the same way that when the intelligence community finds that ISIS or Al Qaeda is using the platform for recruitment, there ought to be a dialogue through Federal Bureau of Investigation or DHS", he explained, per a transcript shared with Recode on Wednesday.

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

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.

After Congressional pressure, Facebook handed over the over 3,000 ads, which 10 million people saw. Sandberg told Axios: "When you cut off speech for one person, you cut off speech for other people".

Representatives from all three internet companies are expected to appear before an open Senate Intelligence Committee on November 1, as evidence continues to mount that their platforms were manipulated with the aim of steering Trump towards winning the presidency.

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