Google uncovers Russia-linked ad campaigns aimed at manipulating USA election

Posted October 13, 2017

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".

Sandberg said it was important to protect "free expression" on Facebook and that if the Russian ads had been bought by legitimate accounts instead of fraudulent ones, many would have been allowed to run on the site.

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.

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

The interview with Sandberg came during a multi-day visit to Washington that included meetings with United States lawmakers.

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.

Sandberg is meeting with elected officials in Washington this week ahead of a House hearing at which executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google are expected to testify.

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

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"We know we have a responsibility to prevent everything we can from this happening on our platforms. and so we told Congress and the Intelligence committees that when they are ready to release the ads, we are ready to help them", she said. Facebook has also declined to make the ads public.

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

"My personal bias is that we'll do that as quickly as we can", Conaway said, adding that they probably wouldn't release the ads before the November 1 hearings.

Some members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) have formed a coalition to press Facebook for action on racial issues, a congressional aide with knowledge of the discussions tells The Hill.

Otherwise, though, Facebook has not released copies of the ads for public viewing.

After Congressional pressure, Facebook handed over the over 3,000 ads, which 10 million people saw.

Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has backtracked from calling the idea of Facebook's influence on the election "pretty insane".

'We believe that other organizations that worked on the campaign have been asked to do the same, ' Cambridge Analytica said in a statement, adding that there was no 'suggestion of wrongdoing'.