Russia hysteria hit a fever pitch when it was revealed Facebook unknowingly (they claim) sold political ads to Russian actors who were attempting to influence the outcome of the 2016 election, sparking curiosity about the ad content.

After immense pressure from Capitol Hill, Facebook announced Thursday they’d be releasing the Russian-bought ads to federal investigators.

Politico reports:

In addition to disclosing details about the ads, which had been placed by a so-called Russian troll farm, Zuckerberg said his giant social media company will pursue a deeper internal investigation into how outside parties may have used its platform during 2016. Those parties include other Russian groups, former Soviet states and “the campaigns” — a seeming reference to the Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton operations.

“We may find more, and if we do, we will continue to work with the government on it,” Zuckerberg said during remarks streamed on Facebook Live.

“We are in a new world,” he added. “It is a new challenge for internet communities to have to deal with nation states attempting to subvert elections. But if that’s what we must do, we are committed to rising to the occasion.”

The company also released a statement from Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch describing the deal with Hill 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,” he said.

The company is also turning over the information to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team but had previously only shown some of the ads to members on the Hill in a private session — and had not released extensive information about the ads.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, hosted a livestream Thursday where he laid out Facebook’s nine point strategy for handling political ad transparency in upcoming elections.

I want to share the steps that we’re taking to protect election integrity and make sure that Facebook is a force for good in democracy. And while the amount of problematic content that we’ve found so far remains relatively small, any attempted interference is a serious issue. Here are 9 things we’re going to be working on over the next few months.

The TL;DR version:

  1.  Work with U.S. government in its investigation into Russian interference
  2. Continue own investigation into what happened on Facebook in the 2016 election
  3. Make political advertising more transparent
  4. Strengthen ad review policy for political ads
  5. Increase investment in security and specifically, election integrity
  6. Expand partnerships with election commissions around the world
  7. Increase sharing of threat info with other technology and security companies
  8. Strengthen democratic process
  9. Have been working to ensure integrity of German elections; have found no similar interference efforts in their elections

Facebook landed in hot water when so-called “fake news” purveyors used the platform to share skewed or not entirely accurate information during election season and responded by creating a board of approved fact-checkers, most of whom were left-leaning. The crusade against fake news though, has taken a back seat in the outrage bus to Russian interference.

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.