Facebook To Turn Over 3,000 Ads To Congress In Russian Election Interference Probe

September 21, 2017

Facebook will provide the contents of 3,000 ads purchased by a Russian agency to Congress. The political ads ran during the 2016 presidential election campaign. The move comes amid growing pressure on the social network from members of Congress to release the ads.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg live-streamed a statement in which he said that his company was “actively working” with the U.S. government in the ongoing Russia investigations.

Zuckerberg also announced a series of rule changes on the site that he hoped would help guard against interference with elections in the future.

Users have been able to look up the company behind an ad they see, but now they will also be able to see who else was targeted by that company. A move that might give people get a sense of the motivations of the advertiser.

Other steps Zuckerberg announced include stronger policies for review at the company for political ads and it will add another 250 employees to focus on election integrity and security.

In a nod to Facebook’s failure previously to guard against state actors using the site to interfere with elections, Zuckerberg said, “It’s a new challenge for Internet communities.” But, he said, “If that’s what we must do then we are committed to rising to the occasion.”

However, Zuckerberg said it wasn’t likely that Facebook will be able to catch all bad content.

“We don’t check what people say before they say it,” he said. “And frankly, I don’t think our society should want us to.”

The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee have been seeking to bring Facebook executives before their committee since the company first revealed the existence of the Russian backed ads two weeks ago. But, some critics say the site should go even further and reveal to specific users whether they were targeted by foreign governments.

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