On Thursday, Facebook’s General Counsel said in a post that after an “extensive legal and policy review” the company would turn over roughly 3,000 ads connected to Russian accounts to congressional investigators, reports Hot Air.
The Company’s General Counsel made the announcement in a Facebook post:
“Two weeks ago, we announced we had found more than 3,000 ads addressing social and political issues that ran in the US between 2015 and 2017 and that appear to have come from accounts associated with a Russian entity known as the Internet Research Agency. We subsequently made clear that we are providing information related to those ads, including the ad content itself, to the Special Counsel investigating allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US election. Since then, some people have asked why we aren’t sharing the content of the ads more broadly.
After an extensive legal and policy review, today we are announcing that we will also share these ads with congressional investigators. We believe it is vitally important that government authorities have the information they need to deliver to the public a full assessment of what happened in the 2016 election.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, provided a live update in which he explains the decisions and the steps the company plans on taking to make sure future attempt to interfere with an election do not happen.
He said that after many months of investigation that company has found very little material tied to Russia but that they will keep investigating.
“‘I wish I could tell you we’re going to be able to stop all interference, but that wouldn’t be realistic. There will always be bad people in the world, and we can’t prevent all governments from all interference. But we can make it harder. We can make it a lot harder. And that’s what we’re going to do,’ said Zuckerberg.”
Zuckerberg also announced that there will be even more transparency going forward on Facebook, regarding political advertisements to make sure consumers know where the ad is coming from.
“‘Going forward — and perhaps the most important step we’re taking — we’re going to make political advertising more transparent. When someone buys political ads on TV or other media, they’re required by law to disclose who paid for them. But you still don’t know if you’re seeing the same messages as everyone else. So we’re going to bring Facebook to an even congressional higher standard of transparency. Not only will you have to disclose which page paid for an ad, but we will also make it so you can visit an advertiser’s page and see the ads they’re currently running to any audience on Facebook. We will roll this out over the coming months, and we will work with others to create a new standard for transparency in online political ads,’ announced Zuckerberg.”
The Facebook CEO said that he would leave the investigation to the special counsel and leave it to them to share new information to the public. So far this is what we know about the ads:
- The vast majority of ads run by these accounts didn’t specifically reference the US presidential election, voting or a particular candidate.
- Rather, the ads and accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum — touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights.
- About one-quarter of these ads were geographically targeted, and of those, more ran in 2015 than 2016.
While the investigation is on going, Facebook has not allowed anyone to see these ads and until the special counsel releases their own information, it is unlikely that the public will learn anything new about the situation.