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Facebook to help investigators release Russia-backed ads

13 October 2017, 12:06 | Megan Pierce

Facebook to help investigators release Russia-backed ads

Screen Shot 2017 10 05

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

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.

The reason that its disconcerting is around this time previous year in 2016 Microsoft were actually informed by Google that a hacking group linked to the Russian government and U.S. political hacks were exploiting a Windows 10 security flaw.

Investigators have recently focused on the spread of false news stories and propaganda on social media and have pressured Facebook, along with Twitter and Google, to release any Russia-linked ads.

Representatives Mike Conaway and Adam Schiff told reporters after meeting with Facebook Inc FB.O Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg that they were working with the company to release the ads publicly.

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.

Asked if Facebook contributed to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's defeat previous year, Sandberg, an open Clinton supporter during the campaign, did not answer directly but said it was important the website was "free from abuse" during any election in any country.

Russia's election meddling is being investigated by multiple congressional panels as well as an independent Justice Department probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

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"It's not just that we apologise".

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".

He said Sandberg also indicated the company wants the help of the intelligence community to identify who may be using Facebook for those reasons. "Any time there is abuse on our platform, it troubles us".

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

Sandberg's comments come a day after the outgoing boss of the UK's media regulator, Dame Patricia Hodgson, said both Google and Facebook were publishers in her view.

Sandberg also stood behind Facebook's commitment to an open platform, and the right of people to say things or buy ads that supported controversial issues.

All three companies have been asked to testify publicly about Russian interference before both the House and Senate intelligence panels on November 1.



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