Facebook will help investigators release Russian Federation ads, Sandberg tells Axios

Facebook Inc Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said on Thursday the company was fully committed to helping USA congressional investigators publicly release Russia-backed political ads that ran during the 2016 United States election.

The committee, one of the main congressional panels investigating allegations of Russian meddling, recently received more than 3,000 politically divisive ads believed to have been purchased by Russia.

She defined fake news as "things that are false hoaxes" and said Facebook is working to stamp out the bad information by teaming up with third-party fact checkers and warning users before they share news deemed fake by Facebook.

In addition to the ads, Facebook will be handing over the pages they link to and supporting targeting data to Congress, Sandberg told Allen.

"My personal advice is that we will do that as quick as we can", said Rep. Mike Conaway, the top GOP lawmaker leading the probe, when asked if the committee plans to release the ads.

U.S. congressional and state elections set for November 2018 present a deadline of sorts for Facebook and other social media companies to get better at halting the kind of election meddling that the USA accuses Russian Federation of.

"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. Facebook says these ads focused on divisive political issues, such as immigration and gun rights, in an apparent attempt to sow discord among the US population.

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

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The Court ruled that the government could not fine the Little Sisters for refusing to comply with the mandate. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops welcomed the administration's decision.


Asked if Facebook owed Americans an apology, Sandberg told Axios that the company is "determined" to defeat any foreign threats, "because our values are worth defending".

Facebook has said those ads focused on divisive political messages, including LGBT issues, immigration and gun rights, and were seen by an estimated 10 million people.

"We don't want this kind of foreign interference" on Facebook, Sandberg added.

Twitter took down the video, saying a remark Blackburn made about opposing abortion was inflammatory, but later recanted.

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.

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.

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.

  • Delia Davidson