Monday, 23 October, 2017

Facebook Exec Meets with Lawmakers Amid Russia Probe

Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg says Congress should 'absolutely' release Russia adverts Sheryl Sandberg Responds to Blackburn Campaign Ad: 'Planned Parenthood Is Not Selling Baby Body Parts'
Kristine Garrett | 13 October, 2017, 15:30

Despite her views, Sandberg said she would be okay with an advertisement like Blackburn's running on Facebook because "when you cut off speech for one person, you cut off speech for all people". Sandberg said it was important to protect "free expression" on Facebook and that if the Russian ads had been bought by legitimate accounts instead of fraudulent ones, many would have been allowed to run on the site.

Congressional committees and special counsel Robert Mueller are investigating Russian interference in the election, including whether there was any collusion between Trump associates and Moscow.

Sandberg is meeting with elected officials in Washington this week ahead of a House hearing at which executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google are expected to testify.

Conaway, R-Texas, and the top Democrat on the panel, California Rep. Adam Schiff, met with Sandberg in the office of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

Sandberg said Facebook wanted other internet companies to work toward making ad purchases more transparent, and she said Facebook was talking with lawmakers who want to introduce legislation on the issue.

Later Thursday, Sandberg met privately with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, where she was pressed on what the company is doing in response to its discovery that numerous ads pushed by Russian-linked accounts were aimed at sowing racial discord.

He said Sandberg also indicated the company wants the help of the intelligence community to identify who may be using Facebook for those reasons. That's a break from the Senate intelligence committee, which had said it won't release them. Information about how the ads targeted specific types of users would also be released, she said.

"We don't check the information posted on Facebook before people post it, and I don't think people should want us to", she said.

Facebook's chief operation officer, Sherry Sandberg, made the pledge during a Capitol Hill meeting with the caucus, members told the public, according to a Politico report. Some members of the caucus have been critical of Facebook over the ads, many of which had racial themes.

Sandberg said the main thing they do allow on Facebook is to let people express themselves. Some of the ads showed white police officers beating black people, said the member, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the ads aren't yet public.

Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has backtracked from calling the idea of Facebook's influence on the election "pretty insane".

"It is my belief that Facebook can not be the Trojan Horse through which America's vulnerabilities are exploited", Kelly wrote.

USA intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian Federation used cyber-enabled means in an attempt to help Trump win the White House, an allegation the Kremlin has denied.

"We believe that other organizations that worked on the campaign have been asked to do the same", Cambridge Analytica said in a statement, adding that there was no "suggestion of wrongdoing".

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