Facebook agrees to release information about Russian-purchased ads to Congress

Daily Beast

Concerns about the role of political ads on Facebook have not been limited to the US.

Zuckerberg also said Facebook's own investigation is ongoing, that it will increase security focused on election integrity, and a new policy is being implemented for political ads to create "an even higher standard for transparency" in which users can see what Page paid for an ad and have the ability to click on the advertiser's website to see what ads are being serviced elsewhere on Facebook.

The platform with 2 billion users announced earlier this month that pages linked to the former Soviet Union spent $50,000 buying political ads on issues such as immigration and gun rights.

The Facebook ads were bought, through fake accounts, by the Internet Research Agency, a shadowy troll farm based in St. Petersburg, Russia. 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.

In a blog post published Thursday afternoon, Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch said, "We believe it is vitally important that government authorities have the information they need to deliver to the public a full assessment of what happened in the 2016 election".

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And says, "I don't want anyone to use our tools to undermine our democracy". "That's not what we stand for", Zuckerberg said in a video statement.

The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee have been seeking to bring Facebook executives before their committee since the company first revealed the existence of the ads two weeks ago. But Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the committee, and other lawmakers had criticized the company for refusing to turn over the materials that it had given to Mueller.

Another step: Strengthening the company's ad review process for political ads. "That's one of the reasons why we want to hear from Facebook".

The CEO said in a Facebook live video on Thursday that the company would provide the controversial ads to government officials to support ongoing investigations in the United States and as part of the social media company's renewed efforts to protect the "integrity" of elections around the world.