Facebook Plans To Share More Information on The Russian Ads

Facebook is calling for U.S. lawmakers to let the world see the ads linked to Russian accounts and advertised during the 2016 election. The social network is also willing to explain the ad targeting to the public as well.

Sheryl Sandberg is Facebook’s chief operating officer. On Thursday, she announced her company’s willingness for more transparency during an interview with Axios’ Mike Allen. It was the first public interview of a Facebook executive since the website announced it had sold thousands of ads linked to Russian account last month.

The House Intelligence Committee leaders said Wednesday they are willing to release the ads after meeting with Sandberg, according to a report by Politico. However, Facebook also wants the public to understand who was shown the ads.

“When the ads get released, we will also be releasing the targeting for those ads,” Sandberg said Thursday. 

Sheryl Sandberg
Stock Photo:
Laguna Niguel, CA, USA; Tuesday, Oct. 7th, 2014; Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook speaks at the 2014 Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. (Krista Kennell / Shutterstock.com)

Facebook revealed in October that about 10 million people could have seen the Russian-bought political advertisements. But, Facebook is not alone. Twitter and Google were reportedly linked to the Russian propaganda campaign.

Sandberg did not explain whether the Russian ads and the Trump campaign were associated despite being asked by Allen on several times.

That said, Facebook hoped they discovered these ads earlier. Facebook came forward with information in September and shared it with the FBI special investigation into the hacking of the 2016 election by Robert Mueller. The company shared the data after being requested by Senator Mark Warner.  “We wish we had found it before it ever happened,” Sandberg said. 

Facebook agreed earlier this month to testify before the Senate and the House on November 1st. Twitter, who also discovered hundreds of accounts linked to Russia, also plans to testify.