Will hire an additional 1,000 people to review ads
Caving to pressure from Capitol Hill, Facebook is releasing some 3,000 possible Russia-linked ads to Congress who has been investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
When the ads will be turned over to Congress has not yet been made clear. As part of the announcement Monday, Facebook also indicated plans to beef up their ad review staff by hiring an additional 1,000 people.
Facebook appears to be bending to recent pressure for more transparent advertising practices, announcing Monday that users will have access to ads on the platform even if they’re not in the target audience, according to a company statement.
The company also said it plans to hire 1,000 more people to better review ads, and will turn over 3,000 ads to Congress that the social network says were likely bought by people in Russia in the months before and after the 2016 U.S. election.
Last month, in response to calls from U.S. lawmakers, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg pledged to hand over the ads to congressional investigators who are looking into alleged Russian involvement in the U.S. presidential election, but he had left the timing unclear.
The company has also so far declined to release the Russia-linked ads to the public, and it’s unclear whether it will as part of this new announcement.
Facebook, the world’s largest social network, has become a primary platform for internet political ads because it has a wide reach and gives advertisers powerful targeting capabilities. For that reason, it may possess valuable clues for U.S. investigators.
Facebook has already provided information about Russia-linked ads to U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller, who is also investigating alleged election meddling, a source said last month.
Moscow has denied any meddling in last year’s U.S. election, in which Republican Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Facebook said on Sunday it would provide to Congress copies of the ads it has found, as well as related data such as whom the ads were targeted at and how much each ad cost.
The materials would be turned over to the intelligence committees of the Senate and House of Representatives, and to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Facebook said.
After it was revealed Russian-interested parties purchased ads on the social media behemoth in an attempt to meddle in U.S. affairs, Facebook promised greater transparency in their ad selling process. CEO Mark Zuckerberg livestreamed the company’s plan to address political ads a few weeks ago.
Twitter told lawmakers it found some 200 accounts linked to the same Russian groups that bought $100,000 worth of ads on Facebook to sow political unrest and manipulate U.S. voters during the presidential election.
The Twitter accounts, which were taken down over the last month, were linked to 470 accounts and pages that Facebook traced to the International Research Agency, an entity known as a troll farm that unleashes fake social media accounts to stir controversy and conflict.
The groups on Facebook had 22 Twitter accounts, according to a blog post released by Twitter on Thursday after briefing staffers on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees behind closed doors. Twitter found an additional 179 accounts connected to those 22.
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