Facebook to Share Russia-linked Ads With US Congress

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg condemned Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and promised to do more to stop it in the future in remarks on Thursday after announcing the social media giant would release some 3,000 ads believed to bought by Russian operatives during the 2016 election.

The move is an about-face for Facebook, which earlier this month said it had given the ads and other information to Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is conducting a criminal investigation of possible links between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

"We're looking to foreign actors, including additional Russian groups and other former Soviet states as well as other organizations like the campaigns to further our understanding of how they used our tools", he said. They were purchased by 470 fake accounts traced back to the Internet Research Agency, a Russian firm known for using troll accounts to post on news sites.

Going forward, Zuckerberg said that Facebook will work to make political advertising more transparent and that anyone will be able to visit an advertiser's page and view the ads they are disseminating on the platform. Facebook has said it was cooperating with related federal investigations, and the revelations have lended credence to the findings of USA intelligence officials that Russian Federation was involved in influencing the 2016 presidential election.

Zuckerberg said that Facebook is working to ensure the integrity of the upcoming German elections.

"We want to do our part", the company said, adding that "Congress is best place to use the information we and others provide".

Facebook, he said, is working proactively to strengthen the democratic process. "Not only will you have to disclose which page paid for an ad, but we'll also make it so you can visit an advertiser's page and see what ads they're now running to any audience on Facebook". "That's not what we stand for", Zuckerberg said.

Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch said in a separate blog post that the social network does not disclose content lightly under any circumstances, but that the company wants to help protect the integrity of USA elections.

"After an extensive legal and policy review, today we are announcing that we will also share these ads with congressional investigators", Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch said in a statement.

  • Latoya Cobb