IT

Facebook Says It Will Release Russian Election Ads to Congress

Facebook Says It Will Release Russian Election Ads to Congress

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said the company would start by sharing with US congressional investigators some 3,000 political ads that it says Russia-based operatives ran on Facebook in the months before and after last year's USA presidential election.

But it had not yet given the ads to Congress, despite having told congressional investigators more than two weeks ago that it had sold more than 3,000 ads to accounts linked to a Russian troll farm between June 2015 and May 2017.

The move Thursday comes amid growing pressure on the social network from members of Congress, who pushed it to release the ads.

The ads, which cost about $100,000 to $150,000, focused on social issues, including same-sex marriage and LGBT civil rights, gun control, immigration, and race relations.

The internal probe, according to Facebook VP Policy and Communications Elliot Schrage in a blog post today, found approximately 470 accounts and Pages "identified by our dedicated security team that manually investigates specific, organized threats" were affiliated with one another - and were likely operated out of Russia and linked to accounts associated with a Russian entity known as the Internet Research Agency. "Facebook's mission is all about giving people a voice and bringing people closer together".

Senate Republicans Stepping Up Efforts to Repeal and Replace ObamaCare
Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Republicans who opposed previous repeal efforts, have not said where they stand. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), would repeal the individual and employer mandate as well as a number of the taxes established under the ACA.

And says, "I don't want anyone to use our tools to undermine our democracy".

In an appearance on ABC's "This Week" last Sunday, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said he was "distressed that it has taken us this long to be informed that the Russians had paid for at least $100,000 of ads created to try to influence our electoral process".

Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch said in a separate blog post on Thursday that the social network treads carefully when releasing information about users or advertisers, but that the company wants to help protect the integrity of USA elections.

Senator Mark Warner, vice-chair for the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on CNN on Wednesday they don't know if Americans helped with the spreading of Russian fake news. "That's not what we stand for", Zuckerberg said.

Schiff made clear that Facebook is not be the only company that investigators expect to hear from. Twitter will meet with the Intelligence Committee next week to discuss the influence of Russian bots on its platform.


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