Facebook Exec Meets with Lawmakers Amid Russia Probe

Facebook Exec Meets with Lawmakers Amid Russia Probe

Facebook Exec Meets with Lawmakers Amid Russia Probe

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.

Congressional committees and special counsel Robert Mueller are investigating Russian interference in the election, including whether there was any collusion between Trump associates and Moscow.

Conaway and Schiff said after the meeting that they expect to eventually release the Facebook ads.

During the closed door meeting, Sandberg told lawmakers that Facebook is working hard to ensure Americans 'understand what the propaganda is that they may or may not be reading, ' Conway told reporters after their discussion. She is expected to give a live interview with the news website Axios on Thursday.

"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. According to lawmakers and researchers, the company employs hundreds of "trolls" to post fake or discredited content from phony social media accounts posing as U.S. or European citizens.

In addition to Facebook, Alphabet's GOOGL.O Google and Twitter TWTR.N have recently detected that suspected Russian operatives used their platforms a year ago to purchase ads and post content that was politically divisive.

U.S. lawmakers had begun calling for regulations. Russian Federation apparently took advantage of controversies surrounding Hillary Clinton [the email scandal that rocked her campaign], and further dug in with the said ads bought from some Silicon Valley giants.

Trump suggests 'Liddle' Sen. Bob Corker was 'made to sound a fool'
Corker had been an ally and personal friend to the president before they developed a public feud on social media. The feud is odd because Corker was briefly considered as a vice president running mate during the 2016 campaign.

Wednesday's meetings are ahead of a November 1 House Intelligence Committee hearing at which Facebook, Twitter and Google are expected to testify.

Sandberg acknowledged that the company had erred in how it handled the issue of foreign interference past year.

Sandberg said, according to Schiff, that Facebook is 'determined to take whatever steps are necessary to ferret out foreign actors creating fake identities and using their platform'.

The group will focus its dialogue with Sandberg on Facebook's "diversity tone-deafness", including why the company has no black members of its board of directors, why Facebook allowed communities of to be targeted with its advertising products and who is being held accountable to make sure that such ads don't appear on Facebook in the future. "Any time there is abuse on our platform, it troubles us".

"The thing about free expression is that when you allow free expression, you allow free expression", Sandberg said. "But the question is, 'Should divisive political or issue ads run?' Our answer is yes because when you cut off speech for one person you cut off speech for all people", she said.

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

Related news