Published: Fri, September 22, 2017
IT | By Amos Hawkins

Facebook will provide Congress contents of 3000 ads bought by Russian agency

Facebook will provide Congress contents of 3000 ads bought by Russian agency

Some 470 accounts spent a total of approximately $100,000 between June 2015 to May 2017 on ads that touted fake or misleading news or drove traffic to pages with such messages, a Facebook official said. The company said then that it had traced ads back to a ring of of 470 accounts with suspected links to Russian Federation.

The social media platform had withheld the information from Congress during discussions earlier this month.

It has been reported that Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading an investigation into the 2016 election and possible ties to Trump's associates, is also interested in probing Twitter as part of that investigation, but for now the social media site has yet to testify or provide documents.

The company concluded that it was "vitally important" to cooperate fully with Congress and that the company could do so in a way that didn't endanger user privacy, according to a blog post by Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch.

"We've been investigating this for many months now, and for a while, we had found no evidence of fake accounts linked to Russian Federation running ads".

Zuckerberg said he directed his team Thursday morning to provide the ads that the company had found to Congress and said the company is conducting a "thorough review" into what happened. "This means all online platforms will need to address this issue, and get smarter about how to address it, now and in the future".

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg held a Facebook Live event announced on short notice Thursday afternoon to discuss the decision.

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Facebook said Thursday it's handing over 3,000 Russia-linked ads to the Senate and House intelligence committees as investigators delve into what happened.

"This is an extraordinary investigation - one that raises questions that go to the integrity of the USA elections", Schrage wrote. "We will roll this out over the coming months", said Zuckerberg. "We are looking into foreign actors, including additional Russian groups and other former Soviet states, as well as organizations like the campaigns, to further our understanding of how they used our tools".

Zuckerberg laid out nine steps that he said Facebook was taking to deter governments from using the world's largest social network to interfere with elections.

Zuckerberg says, "We are going to make political advertising more transparent".

The company will hire 250 more people in the next year to work on "election integrity", Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg made a bold promise to create more services to protect Facebook users while they engaging in political discourse.

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