Facebook will help investigators release Russian Federation ads, Sandberg tells Axios

Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg says Congress should 'absolutely' release Russia adverts

Sandberg and others from Facebook appeared before U.S. congressional panels looking into reports of Russian interference in the election. She claims that ads and the fake accounts used to get them on Facebook have been found and removed.

Congress has been investigating Russia's meddling in the 2016 campaign, including whether the Trump campaign colluded with the country to win the election.

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.

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.

Sandberg's meeting with the caucus was just the latest stop in an apology tour launched after Facebook faced harsh criticism for denying, back tracking, then finally admitting the key role it played in Russia's disinformation campaign.

Speaking with Axios, Sandberg said Facebook supports releasing the ads and information about who they targeted. If the company accepts that it is a media firm, it would open the platform up to regulatory rules in the USA and other countries which Facebook would rather avoid. Several congressional committees, as well as special counsel Robert Mueller, are investigating Russian interference, including any potential collusion between Trump associates and Moscow.

Sources familiar with Facebook's contacts with Congress said that as recently as July this year, company officials were denying the existence of any paid Russian messaging, and only later acknowledged that the company had found $100,000 in sponsored traffic linked to 478 Facebook accounts.

"We're going to give them the material they want", she said.

Sandberg said Facebook would provide additional material to investigators as needed to determine the level of foreign interference in the United States election. Twitter took down the video, saying a remark Blackburn made about opposing abortion was inflammatory.

"In that ad, there are a lot of things that people don't like, that I don't like".

"We have a set of strict ads policies including limits on political ad targeting and prohibitions on targeting based on race and religion", a Google spokeswoman said, asked about the issue.

Business Insider said Britain was already considering regulations that would treat Facebook more like a media company.



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