Facebook Gives Up Russian-Linked Ads to Congress

On Monday, Facebook announced it had given Congress thousands of advertisements linked to Russian influence operations in the United States. Facebook also announced their tightening of ad policies to make sure election impact is harder to achieve on the social network.

Facebook confirmed that it discovered the ad sales earlier this year and gave copies of the ads to the Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, who is currently investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Facebook had reportedly shown the ads to congressional investigators but had not turned the ads over to them. Following complaints by the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the company decided to give up the ads to the government.

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“We are sharing these ads with Congress because we want to do our part to help investigators gain a deeper understanding of Russian interference in the US political system and explain those activities to the public,” said a statement by Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s vice president for global public policy.

The House Intelligence Committee’s ranking member Adam Schiff confirmed the ads on Monday but said there are still important questions that need to be answered about the social media campaigns.

“As we fully examine these ads in the coming days, we will be particularly interested in understanding their full reach, in particular to determine what groups and individuals were most heavily targeted and why,” Schiff said.

Schiff added he hopes to release a sampling of the ads Facebook has turned over as soon as possible, NPR reports.

Last week, Twitter representatives visited Capital hill briefed investigators on their findings, but the Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner called the session “inadequate.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that his company would make changes to the social network that will make it difficult for people to influence elections.

On Wednesday, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman and Warner are scheduled to hold a joint news conference on the issue in Washington, D.C.