Facebook promises action on Russian ads

Facebook promises action on Russian ads

Advertisements run by a Russian organization on Facebook before and after the U.S. presidential election were meant to stir tension in the country, especially on divisive issues such as race, immigration and guns, congressional investigators have said.

"Things happened on our platform in this election that should not have happened", Sandberg said.

Facebook has handed over the information it holds, including the ads, the pages they link to and who they were targeted at, to the Congress and Intelligence committees investigating the alleged election interference.

"We have a responsibility to do everything we can to prevent this kind of abuse", she said. The accounts created to fund the ads and the ads themselves have now been removed, however.

So far, however, the congressional sources said investigators have found it hard to extract all the relevant information from Silicon Valley about alleged Russian activity.

A key question for three separate investigations into how Russian Federation influenced the last election is how the ad buyers knew with such specificity where to place their ad buys, and whether they worked with any political campaigns to do the targeting.

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The move comes as critics and lawmakers are increasingly calling for the regulation of Facebook and other internet giants. Before her time at Google and later Facebook, she worked for Larry Summers, the treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton.

Sandberg said that Facebook is run by technical workers and engineers and according to her, the company does not produce news content, therefore it can't be a media company.

Congressional sources said some of the Facebook messaging went to groups with seemingly legitimate names such as Heart of Texas, Defend the Second, and United Muslims of America, which they said all had as many as 250,000 followers.

"We're going to want to get a complete sense of what the Russians are doing on their platform and others", Schiff said.

Sandberg didn't say whether she believes Facebook played a role in electing Donald Trump as president, as critics have said it did by allowing the spread of fake news on its service.

Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has backtracked from calling the idea of Facebook's influence on the election "pretty insane". "We reiterated that Congress is best placed to decide if and when the ads should be made available to the American people". Sandberg plans to meet Thursday with members of the Congressional Black Caucus to discuss race-related ads on the network. Currently, Facebook's eight-member board of directors is all white and 75 per cent male.

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