Google 'discovers Russia-linked ads' on YouTube and Gmail before United States election

Sheryl Sandberg on Thursday confirmed reports that the House Intelligence Committee will be publicizing thousands of Facebook ads linked to Russian Federation that appeared during the 2016 election.

"We're a new kind of platform", she said, echoing Mark Zuckerberg's words verbatim from a December 2016 talk on Facebook Live.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg says she wished Facebook had sooner discovered that Russians had bought ad campaigns on the site with the intention of influencing the United States site.

"My personal advice is that we will do that as quick as we can", said Rep. Mike Conaway, the top GOP lawmaker leading the probe, when asked if the committee plans to release the ads.

Axios asked Sandberg what the world's largest social network knew about the extent of Russia's use of its platform and if ads on Facebook that had been placed by Russian accounts and Donald Trump's presidential campaign had overlapped in terms of target audiences.

Without offering specifics, Sandberg said that "things happened on our platform in this election that should not have happened - especially, and very troubling, [sic] foreign interference in a democratic election".

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.

Officials from Facebook and the committee did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


Schiff said Sandberg wanted to convey that the company is serious about the issue to members of Congress, some of whom have expressed concerns that the company was reluctant to share information and ensure that foreign governments don't wage information campaigns in US elections.

The move comes as critics and lawmakers are increasingly calling for the regulation of Facebook and other internet giants. Facebook, she said, does owe America an apology.

He said Sandberg also indicated the company wants the help of the intelligence community to identify who may be using Facebook for those reasons.

Facebook has said those ads focused on divisive political messages, including LGBT issues, immigration and gun rights, and were seen by an estimated 10 million people. Twitter took down the video, saying a remark Blackburn made about opposing abortion was inflammatory.

Facebook has turned over the ads - and information on how they were targeted, such as by geography or to people with a certain political affiliation - to congressional investigators.

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".

All three companies have been asked to testify publicly about Russian interference before both the House and Senate intelligence panels on November 1.


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