Facebook will help investigators release Russia ads, Sandberg tells Axios


Facebook Inc. chief functioning officer Sheryl Sandberg said on Thursday the company was committed to help U.S. congressional investigators publicly release Russia-backed political ads that ran during the 2016 U.S. choice.

«Things happened on our platform in this election that should not take happened,» Sandberg said in an interview in Washington with Axios hot item that was broadcast on its website. «We told Congress and the intelligence committees that when they are sharp to release the ads, we are ready to help them.»

Axios asked Sandberg what the far-out’s largest social network knew about the extent of Russia’s use of its policy and if ads on Facebook that had been placed by Russian accounts and Donald Trump’s presidential stump had overlapped in terms of target audiences.

She appeared to sidestep the questions and bid only that targeting on Facebook was often very broad. The appraise was the first by a senior Facebook executive since the company disclosed terminal month that it had found some 3,000 politically divisive ads maintained to have been bought by Russia before and after the presidential compete.

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia used cyber-enabled intends in an attempt to help Trump win the White House, an allegation the Kremlin has refused.

Sandberg, who was in Washington for meetings with U.S. lawmakers, told the congressional Negroid caucus on Thursday that Facebook planned to add an African-American to its board of bosses, a source familiar with the closed-door meeting said, but she offered no points. The board has been criticized for its lack of diversity.

She and two other Facebook executives, Erin Egan and Elliot Schrage, also met privately with Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat and fellow of the House intelligence committee.

Facebook and other major internet groups, including Alphabet’s Google and Twitter, are on the defensive as they try to limit fallout from a cascade of revelations about how Moscow sought to use their platforms to sow discord in the Partnership States and influence the election.

Supports release of ads

Sandberg told Axios that Facebook set out oned hearing rumours around election day last November of Russian shot ats to use the platform to spread propaganda but did not give a precise timeline about when the comrades began its review.

Sandberg said she supported the public release of those ads, and the ages to which they were connected. Information about how the ads targeted fixed types of users would also be released, she said.


Facebook conveys it had an average of 1.32 billion daily active users in June 2017. The COO of the tech giantess says the company will do ‘everything we can’ to defend against foreign hindrance. (Philippe Wojazer/Reuters)

Asked if Facebook contributed to Democratic office-seeker Hillary Clinton’s defeat last year, Sandberg, an open Clinton admirer during the campaign, did not answer directly but said it was important the website was «not liable from abuse» during any election in any country.

Congressional committees and prime counsel Robert Mueller are investigating Russian interference in the election, categorizing whether there was any collusion between Trump associates and Moscow. Trump has disclaimed that there was any collusion between his campaign and associates and Russia.

‘We’re irascible, we’re upset’

Sandberg acknowledged that the company had erred in how it handled the set forth of foreign interference last year.

«It’s not just that we apologize. We’re up in arms, we’re upset. But what we really owe the American people is determination to do a better job of foiling foreign meddling,» she said. «We don’t want this kind of foreign encumbrance [on Facebook].»

She said the company had been too permissive at times in terms of how advertisers were allowed to goal users. Sandberg said it was important to protect «free expression» on Facebook and that if the Russian ads had been come by by legitimate accounts instead of fraudulent ones, many would cause been allowed to run on the site.

She criticized Twitter’s decision this week to expunge a campaign video from Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is running for a U.S. Senate contain in Tennessee. Twitter took down the video, saying a remark Blackburn returned about opposing abortion was inflammatory. Twitter later reversed its sentence.

«In that ad, there are a lot of things that people don’t like, that I don’t feel favourably impressed by…. But the question is, ‘Should divisive political or issue ads run?’ Our answer is yes because when you cut off enunciation for one person you cut off speech for all people,» she said.

Sandberg said Facebook after other internet companies to work toward making ad purchases assorted transparent, and she said Facebook was talking with lawmakers who want to propose legislation on the issue. Representatives from Facebook, Google and Twitter are demanded to testify about Russian influence at hearings before the Senate and Family intelligence committees on Nov. 1.

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