Facebook to Turn Over 3000 Russia-Bought Ads to Congress

Posted September 22, 2017

Zuckerberg announced a series of steps that would help prevent the manipulation of the social network including more transparency on political ads appearing on Facebook.

The moves Thursday come amid growing pressure on the social network from members of Congress, who pushed Facebook to release the ads.

Facebook said Thursday it's handing over 3,000 Russia-linked ads to the Senate and House intelligence committees as investigators delve into what happened.

In addition to the 470 accounts that appeared to be run from Russia, Stamos said its investigators also discovered an additional $50,000 in spending via 2,200 ads that "might have originated in Russia", even including ads purchased by accounts with IP addresses in the USA but set to Russian in the language settings. Both Twitter and Facebook are stepping up their efforts to cooperate with Congressional investigations into Russian interference with last year's Presidential election.

"Many of these dynamics were new in this election and in a much larger scale... and they were much larger in scale than any of the interference that we have found", he said.

The internal probe, according to Facebook VP Policy and Communications Elliot Schrage in a blog post today, found approximately 470 accounts and Pages "identified by our dedicated security team that manually investigates specific, organized threats" were affiliated with one another - and were likely operated out of Russia and linked to accounts associated with a Russian entity known as the Internet Research Agency.

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The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee have been seeking to bring Facebook executives before their committee since the company first revealed the existence of the ads two weeks ago. Congress is best placed to use the information we and others provide to inform the public comprehensively and completely. But critics say Facebook should go further.

"We don't check what people say before they say it and frankly I don't think society wants us to", Zuckerberg said. They say the company should tell its users how they might have been influenced by outside meddlers.

He said that if people break Facebook's code of conduct or the law "there will be consequences".

He said Facebook "won't catch everyone immediately", but instead can "make it harder to try to interfere". But Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the committee, and other lawmakers had criticized the company for refusing to turn over the materials that it had given to Mueller.

He also said the company is doubling the amount of workers on its team for "election integrity".