Google uncovers Russia-linked ad campaigns aimed at manipulating U.S. election

Microsoft joins the search for Russian backed Ads

Microsoft joins the search for Russian backed Ads

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

The committee, one of the main congressional panels investigating allegations of Russian meddling, recently received more than 3,000 politically divisive ads believed to have been purchased by Russia.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said last month that the company would begin treating political ads differently from other ads, including by making it possible for anyone to see political ads, no matter whom they target.

While Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, now favours the release, she didn't say Thursday when the company would do so.

"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.

U.S. congressional and state elections set for November 2018 present a deadline of sorts for Facebook and other social media companies to get better at halting the kind of election meddling that the USA accuses Russian Federation of.

She and two other Facebook executives, Erin Egan and Elliot Schrage, also met privately with Representative Jackie Speier, a California Democrat and member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Asked by interviewer Mike Allen on Thursday whether Facebook should be regulated as a media company, Sandberg responded: "We're very different than a media company".

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

Facebook, along with Twitter and Google, will next month testify before the House and Senate intelligence committees about Russian Federation meddling in the presidential election. Information about how the ads were targeted toward specific kinds of users would also be released, she said. Facebook, she said, does owe America an apology.

"We take reports of misuse of our platform seriously".

Still, Sandberg said it was important to protect "free expression" on Facebook.

"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.

She said it is important to be cautious when going after fake news because "a lot of what we allow on Facebook is people expressing themselves" and "when you cut off speech for one person, you cut off speech for all people".

Representatives from all three internet companies are expected to appear before an open Senate Intelligence Committee on November 1, as evidence continues to mount that their platforms were manipulated with the aim of steering Trump towards winning the presidency.

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