Sci-tech

Facebook promises action on Russian ads

Facebook promises action on Russian ads

As people debate Facebook's role in influencing people during the U.S. presidential elections by Russian ads and fake news on the platform, the company's COO Sheryl Sandberg has stressed that the social media giant is not a media organisation, and therefore does not hire journalists.

This is an ongoing investigation, the new information will be posted as being reported. "In fact we're a new kind of platform... as our size grows, we think we have more responsibility", the executive was quoted as saying. Working with USA authorities, it has promised to find other malicious actors on the social network and would remove or limit their access.

"These were really productive meetings".

Facebook has admitted it shouldn't have allowed fake Russian accounts to fund ads supporting Trump in the U.S. election and will do everything in its power to help authorities get to the bottom of the alleged election interference campaign. The company has already turned over about 3,000 ads that ran on its platform to congressional investigators, but they have not yet been made public.

Sandberg also held separate meetings with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and House Energy and Commerce chairman Greg Walden of OR, and with several House Democrats, led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

She said the company had been too permissive at times in terms of how advertisers are allowed to target users, and that Facebook did not want to allow ads that may be "discriminatory".

Advertisements run by a Russian organization on Facebook before and after the USA presidential election were meant to stir tension in the country, especially on divisive issues such as race, immigration and guns, congressional investigators have said.

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Facebook, she said, does owe America an apology. A USA TODAY analysis showed that top universities churn out African-American and Hispanic computer science/computer engineering graduates at almost twice the rate that leading tech companies hire them. The ad targeted Americans opposed to political correctness and multiculturalism.

"Things happened on our platform that shouldn't have happened" in the lead-up to the election, Sandberg told the Axios website on Thursday.

"We do not want this kind of foreign interference in Facebook", she added.

Still, Sandberg said it was important to protect "free expression" on the world's largest social network.

"They've been aggressive in trying-when they've learned who those people are-to go after them and shut down the sites".

"They've got to be able to do better than this", Lazowska told GeekWire this week. "People are figuring out how to use and manipulate a system that was built for good to bad ends". Several congressional committees, as well as special counsel Robert Mueller, are investigating Russian interference, including any potential collusion between Trump associates and Moscow. Twitter has said it provided a roundup of advertisements by RT, a TV network funded by the Russian government that was formerly known as Russia Today. If the company accepts that it is a media firm, it would open the platform up to regulatory rules in the United States and other countries which Facebook would rather avoid. It also indicated it might be open to some regulation regarding transparency.

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