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Facebook has "an enormous responsibility" for Russian interference in USA election

13 October 2017

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.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg says the social media giant is "cooperating fully" with federal investigators after it found 3,000 ads coming from Russian Federation which targeted Americans during the 2016 campaign. 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. The ads included promoted events and amplified posts that show up in users' news feeds. In the ad, Blackburn heralded her work to stop "the sale of baby body parts", a reference to her investigation into Planned Parenthood's reported practice of "donating" body parts, obtained through abortion, in return for monetary compensation. Congress is also investigating Russia-linked ads on Twitter and Google. She said Facebook hopes to "set a new standard in transparency in advertising".

The action means that Facebook may be able to help explain to Congress which groups of people and geographic areas were the targets of the Russian ads, and who precisely paid for them. "When you allow free expression, you allow free expression".

Wednesday's meetings are ahead of a November 1 House Intelligence Committee hearing at which Facebook, Twitter and Google are expected to testify. Sandberg is no stranger to Washington.

Sandberg said Facebook didn't catch these ads earlier because it was focused on other threats, such as hacking.

Sandberg said the main thing they do allow on Facebook is to let people express themselves.

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Sandberg said Facebook would provide additional material to investigators as needed to determine the level of foreign interference in the USA election.

Sandberg didn't say whether she believes Facebook played a role in electing Donald Trump as president, as critics have said it did by allowing the spread of fake news on its service. "Not just an apology, but determination for our role in enabling Russian interference during the election", she said.

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

Sandberg, who was in Washington for meetings with US lawmakers, told the congressional black caucus on Thursday that Facebook planned to add an African-American to its board of directors, a source familiar with the closed-door meeting said, but she offered no details.

Sandberg said when Twitter initially took down the ad and said Blackburn could only run the free content, they made a mistake. Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana Democrat who chairs the caucus, said Sandberg promised to appoint an African-American to the board, a move the caucus and other activists have been pushing for years. Currently, Facebook's eight-member board of directors is all white and 75 per cent male. Two, including Sandberg, are women.

Facebook has