Facebook agrees to release information about Russian-purchased ads to Congress

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Mark Zuckerberg has pledged to make Facebook advertisements more transparent after acknowledging that groups linked to Russian Federation tried to use his website to influence the election.

"After an extensive legal and policy review, today we are announcing that we will also share these ads with congressional investigators", Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch said in a statement.

Calls for Facebook to release the content to members of Congress as well, however, had been ramping up in recent weeks, after Facebook publicly announced that the accounts "likely operated out of Russia" had bought and released a series of adverts at key times during the USA election campaign, mostly promoting divisive messages on issues such as gun rights and race.

An internal Facebook review showed that Russia-linked fake accounts were used to buy ads aimed at exacerbating political clashes ahead of and following the 2016 United States presidential election.

"For awhile, we had found no evidence of fake accounts linked to Russian Federation running ads", Zuckerberg said Thursday.

It has been reported that Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading an investigation into the 2016 election and possible ties to Trump's associates, is also interested in probing Twitter as part of that investigation, but for now the social media site has yet to testify or provide documents.


"We believe the public deserves a full accounting of what happened in the 2016 election", Stretch wrote.

"We don't check what people say before they say it and frankly I don't think society wants us to", Zuckerberg said.

He added: "We won't catch everyone immediately, but we can make it harder to try to interfere". "We will roll this out over the coming months", said Zuckerberg.

As our biannual transparency reports make clear, we carefully scrutinize all government data requests, from here and overseas, and we push back where they do not adhere to those legal limitations.

"I care deeply about the democratic process and protecting it's integrity", said Zuckeberg. And, of course, we also recognize and support the important work of government investigations and take care not to take steps, like public disclosures, that might undermine them.

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. Bringing up the German elections next weekend, the company said it will expand partnerships with election commissions worldwide and will create channel of online risks during elections. The social media platform said approximately one-quarter of the ads were geographically targeted and ran mostly in 2015 rather than 2016.

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