House Intelligence Committee to make public Russia-linked Facebook ads

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.   Drew Angerer  Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Drew Angerer Getty Images

"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.

"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.

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.

Implementing changes is tricky, Schroepfer said, because Facebook does not want to stifle legitimate speech and because of the volume of material on Facebook, the world's largest social network with 2 billion users and 5 million advertisers.

The interview was the first by a senior Facebook executive since the company disclosed last month that it had found some 3,000 politically divisive ads believed to have been bought by Russian Federation before and after the presidential campaign.

Silicon Valley's tech giants have come under increasing scrutiny from lawmakers amid revelations that they may have helped last year's presidential election.

Sandberg is in Washington this week meeting with other lawmakers as well.

She said only that the role Facebook plays in elections "go beyond any one campaign, any one country". The board has been criticized for its lack of diversity. Twitter has since reversed its stance and reinstated Blackburn's ad. 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.

FILE PHOTO - Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg speaks during the opening of the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany September 14, 2017.

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. Trump has denied that there was any collusion between his campaign and associates and Russian Federation.

"What we really owe the American people is determination" to do "everything we can" to defend against threats and foreign interference, Sandberg said.

"It's not just that we apologise". Sandberg instead opted to say that whenever the platform was misused, "we're angry, we're upset".

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'.

"The thing about free expression is that when you allow free expression, you allow free expression", Sandberg said. Twitter later reversed its decision.

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.

Conaway said it was unlikely the ads would be released before Facebook will testify to Congress about Russian interference on November 1.

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

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