Sheryl Sandberg Says Facebook Supports Revealing Russia-Linked Ads

The logo of social media and networking site Facebook is reflected in an eye

Facebook Inc Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said on Thursday the company was fully committed to helping USA congressional investigators publicly release Russia-backed political ads that ran during the 2016 United States election.

"Things happened on our platform in this election that should not have happened, especially troubling foreign interference in a democratic election", Sandberg said.

"We've asked for Facebook's help to scrub any personally identifiable information, but it's our hope that when that concludes we can release them publicly", Schiff said.

AxiosIt's a question that keeps coming up: Is Facebook a media company, or just a technology platform? Kelly, Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) wrote another letter to Facebook pressing Facebook to increase diversity on its board, curb fake news on its platform and end "incendiary racial advertising" on Facebook. USA intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian Federation used cyber-enabled means in an attempt to help Trump win the White House, an allegation the Kremlin has denied.

The move comes as critics and lawmakers are increasingly calling for the regulation of Facebook and other internet giants.

Facebook went on to state that "our analysis suggests these accounts and Pages were affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russian Federation". The board has been criticized for its lack of diversity.

Sandberg did say that Facebook and Congress would release data on the Russian ad targeting when they release the ads to the public next month. Facebook says these ads focused on divisive political issues, such as immigration and gun rights, in an apparent attempt to sow discord among the USA population.

FILE PHOTO - Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg speaks during the opening of the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany September 14, 2017. Trump has denied that there was any collusion between his campaign and associates and Russian Federation.

But Sandberg acknowledged the company had erred in how it handled the issue of foreign interference a year ago. Sandberg instead opted to say that whenever the platform was misused, "we're angry, we're upset". Facebook, she said, does owe America an apology.

"I think we should seek to facilitate when the intelligence community identifies the Russians are using this platform in the same way that when the intelligence community finds that ISIS or Al Qaeda is using the platform for recruitment, there ought to be a dialogue through Federal Bureau of Investigation or DHS", he explained, per a transcript shared with Recode on Wednesday.

She said the company had been too permissive at times in terms of how advertisers were allowed to target users.

In response to the Russian ad buys, Facebook Chief Operating Officer said that company is hiring 4,000 new employees to oversee ads and content.

Moreover, Sandberg said she disagreed with Twitter's initial decision to take down Congressional candidate Marsha Blackburn's campaign ad because it included "an inflammatory statement that is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction".

"The hard thing about that question is, are we saying the answer, are we saying we don't have responsibility, so I want to be really clear", Sandberg said.

'My personal bias is that we'll do that as quickly as we can, ' Conaway said, adding that they probably wouldn't release the ads before the November 1 hearings.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is also holding an open hearing with the three companies that day.

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