Facebook Will Share Info About Russian Political Ads With Congress

Geneva Matthews
September 23, 2017

Stamos notes that Facebook included any ad that even appeared to originate from Russia, including advertisements purchased by users within the United States, but who had Russian set as their default language.

This follows Facebook finding over 3,000 ads addressing social and political issues that ran in the U.S. between 2015 and 2017.

The Kremlin has denied placing ads on social media in order to sway the result of the 2016 US presidential election-in fact, Russian Federation does not even know how to advertise on Facebook, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman told journalists Friday. He went on Facebook Live yesterday to say that Facebook, which is turning over the ads to Congress, will conduct a "thorough review" of the scandal.

On Thursday evening, Facebook bowed to pressure from lawmakers and the public, saying it will provide the contents of 3,000 ads bought by a Russian agency to congressional investigators, while also pledging to make political advertising on its platform more "transparent". As part of this co-operation it will share information about 3,000 political advertisements linked to Russian Federation with investigators.

In a status update, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared more information about how the company plans to manage political ads in the future. Facebook will not, however, release to the public information about who buys digital political ads.

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.

Facebook is also planning greater focus on "election integrity" efforts.

Towards the end of the 2016 elections, Facebook was accused of running Russian disinformation. A sentence like, "We have been working to ensure the integrity of the German elections this weekend", meant to be reassuring, comes off as shocking. "Now, I wish I could tell you we're going to be able to stop all interference, but that wouldn't be realistic". We can make it a lot harder. If it didn't share this information with Congress, people may have accused it of putting its interests ahead of the integrity of presidential elections. We are deeply committed to safeguarding user content, regardless of the user's nationality, and ads are user content.

"We will work with others to create a new standard for transparency in online political ads", Zuckerberg said.

"We are in a new world", he added.

Facebook's decision to settle on the eve of trial follows in the footsteps of Google, which settled a similar lawsuit in 2013 over its plan to issue non-voting shares so that cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin could maintain their majority voting rights.

Other reports by VideoGamingPros

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