Facebook Will Reveal How Russia Targeted US Voters

13 October, 2017, 15:52 | Author: Cecil Buchanan
  • Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg says Congress should 'absolutely' release Russia adverts

"We told Congress and the intelligence committees that when they are ready to release the ads, we are ready to help them".

Facebook has admitted it shouldn't have allowed fake Russian accounts to fund ads supporting Trump in the USA election and will do everything in its power to help authorities get to the bottom of the alleged election interference campaign.

She appeared to sidestep the questions and said only that targeting on Facebook was often very broad.

Previously, Facebook declined to make the ads public.

US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian Federation used cyber-enabled means in an attempt to help Trump win the White House, an allegation the Kremlin has denied.

Later Thursday, Sandberg met privately with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, where she was pressed on what the company is doing in response to its discovery that numerous ads pushed by Russian-linked accounts were aimed at sowing racial discord. The board has been criticized for its lack of diversity. Currently, Facebook's eight-member board of directors is all white and 75 per cent male. If the company accepts that it is a media firm, it would open the platform up to regulatory rules in the USA and other countries which Facebook would rather avoid.

Sandberg, in a visit to Washington where she met lawmakers probing Russian efforts to manipulate social media during the election, said Facebook is "fully cooperating" with investigations in Congress and a special counsel.

Speaking with Axios, Sandberg said Facebook supports releasing the ads and information about who they targeted.

Sandberg said Facebook didn't catch these ads earlier because it was focused on other threats, such as hacking. "But we're not saying we don't have a responsibility".

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Asked if Facebook contributed to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's defeat a year ago, Sandberg, an open Clinton supporter during the campaign, did not answer directly but said it was important the website was "free from abuse" during any election in any country.

Congress has been investigating Russia's meddling in the 2016 campaign, including whether the Trump campaign colluded with the country to win the election.

"It's not just that we apologize".

"We know that we have a responsibility to do everything we can to prevent this kind of abuse", she added.

Sandberg said Facebook would provide additional material to investigators as needed to determine the level of foreign interference in the United States election.

She said the company had been too permissive at times in terms of how advertisers were allowed to target users.

Some 470 accounts spent a total of approximately $100,000 between June 2015 to May 2017 on ads that touted fake or misleading news, according to Facebook.

Sandberg noted that this was an interesting conversation to be having this week considering Rep. Marsha Blackburn's (R., Tenn.) Senate campaign announcement ad was taken down from Twitter because of an "inflammatory" pro-life statement. Twitter later reversed its decision. "In that ad, there's a lot of positions that people don't like, that I don't like".

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