Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg says Congress should 'absolutely' release Russian Federation adverts

Cesar Mills
October 14, 2017

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus met with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on Thursday to discuss their concerns over the social media company's lack of corporate diversity and its acceptance of Russian ads that stoked racial tensions during the 2016 presidential election. "We told Congress and the intelligence committees that when they are ready to release the ads, we are ready to help them".

Also it is reported that Ms. Sandberg said the ads, pages they link to, and who they were targeted at, have been given to investigators.

She said the company had been too permissive at times in terms of how advertisers are allowed to target users, and that Facebook did not want to allow ads that may be "discriminatory". She also declined to say when Facebook would make a formal announcement on the matter. "Again, we are going to be fully transparent".

A key question for three separate investigations into how Russian Federation influenced the last election is how the ad buyers knew with such specificity where to place their ad buys, and whether they worked with any political campaigns to do the targeting.

"We know we have a responsibility to prevent everything we can from this happening on our platforms. and so we told Congress and the Intelligence committees that when they are ready to release the ads, we are ready to help them", she said.

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"Things happened on our platform in this election that shouldn't have happened", Sandberg said during an interview in Washington with the Axios news website.

Trump won by a thin margin in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, putting him over the top in the Electoral College. Sandberg told congressional investigators on Thursday that in addition to the ads, the company would provide the rest of the information from accounts linked to Russian Federation, the spokesman said.

Sandberg said that Facebook is run by technical workers and engineers and according to her, the company does not produce news content, therefore it can't be a media company. A USA TODAY analysis showed that top universities churn out African-American and Hispanic computer science/computer engineering graduates at almost twice the rate that leading tech companies hire them. But when we say that, we're not saying we don't have a responsibility. The company's 2017 diversity report showed that women now make up 35 percent of Facebook's global workforce, up from 33 percent a year ago.

Congressional sources said some of the Facebook messaging went to groups with seemingly legitimate names such as Heart of Texas, Defend the Second, and United Muslims of America, which they said all had as many as 250,000 followers.

Other reports by GizPress

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