CBC members to press Facebook's Sandberg on race issues

Todd Singleton
October 13, 2017

The move by the House Intelligence Committee - announced by its leaders Wednesday -comes as Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg huddles with lawmakers on the panel and others in Congress who are newly eyeing Russia's disinformation campaign on social media.

Facebook has handed over the contents of the ads to congressional investigators probing Moscow's alleged meddling in the election, as well as potential collusion between Kremlin officials and members of the Trump campaign team. Facebook and Twitter have also said they uncovered politically divisive content emanating from Russian Federation.

Sandberg said she supported the public release of those ads, and the pages they were connected to.

"Things happened on our platform in this election that should not have happened", Sandberg said in an interview in Washington with Axios news that was broadcast on its website.

Disclosures by Facebook, Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google that their products were battlegrounds for Russian election meddling past year have turned into a crisis for Silicon Valley.

"We know we have a responsibility to prevent everything we can from this happening on our platforms. and so we told Congress and the Intelligence committees that when they are ready to release the ads, we are ready to help them", she said.

The statement came on the heels of a white paper the social media company published in April where it outlined how "organized attempts" were made to misuse its platform.

USA lawmakers had begun calling for regulations.

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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.

Asked if Facebook owed Americans an apology, Sandberg told Axios that the company is "determined" to defeat any foreign threats, "because our values are worth defending".

"We don't want this kind of foreign interference" on Facebook, Sandberg added.

She said the company had been too permissive at times in terms of how advertisers were allowed to target users.

"The thing about free expression is that when you allow free expression, you allow free expression", Sandberg said.

She criticized Twitter's decision this week to remove a campaign video from Republican Representative Marsha Blackburn, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee.

Citing a person familiar with the matter, Reuters reports that Russian operatives invested tens of thousands of dollars on ads on Gmail, YouTube and Google Search products.

Representatives from all three internet companies are expected to appear before an open Senate Intelligence Committee on November 1, as evidence continues to mount that their platforms were manipulated with the aim of steering Trump towards winning the presidency.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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