Facebook Will Hand Over Russian Ads to Congress

Company says it wants to help with a 'full accounting'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2017 3:10 PM CDT
In Reversal, Facebook to Give Congress Russian Ads
A Facebook employee walks past a sign at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Facebook is reversing course and will turn turn over to Congress copies of ads bought by Russians in the 2016 election. The company had previously balked on doing so over privacy concerns but has changed course after what Mark Zuckerberg called “an extensive legal and policy review," per the Washington Post. The newspaper says the company will send copies of more than 3,000 online ads purchased under Russian accounts. The company had been under increasing pressure from lawmakers to do so, notes Politico, especially after the revelation that Facebook traced $100,000 in campaign ads to a Russian "troll farm."

Now those ads will be closely scrutinized by members of Congress, who had accused Facebook of not fully cooperating with their investigation into Russian interference. “We believe the public deserves a full accounting of what happened in the 2016 election, and we’ve concluded that sharing the ads we’ve discovered, in a manner that is consistent with our obligations to protect user information, can help,” Colin Stretch, Facebook’s general counsel, wrote in a blog post. In another post, the company provided a Q&A, including this: "Do you expect to find more ads from Russian or other foreign actors using fake accounts?" Answer: "It's possible." (Read more Facebook stories.)

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