US Congress tangles with Facebook, other social media firms over Russian Federation probe

Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg says Congress should 'absolutely' release Russia adverts

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

Following Ms Sandberg's comments, Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said that they would eventually release those ads. The social media platform says that Russia-linked groups spent about $150,000 on political ads, including some promotions that mentioned either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton by name.

Contrary to her claim, Facebook hired former NBC anchor Campbell Brown in January to head up the company's news division and work with other journalists to maximise their use of Facebook's platform.

Sandberg said that Facebook is run by technical workers and engineers and according to her, the company does not produce news content, therefore it can't be a media company. 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.

"Facebook owes the American people an apology".

"We gave them so far the ads plus the pages they linked to", said Sandberg, who is Facebook's chief operating officer.

Sandberg says Facebook started looking into Russian ads around election day as reports of Russian attempts to influence the election intensified.

"The thing about free expression is that when you allow free expression, you allow free expression", Sandberg said.

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Congressional committees and special counsel Robert Mueller are investigating Russian interference in the election, including whether there was any collusion between Trump associates and Moscow.

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

"So, Twitter took down the ad and put it back up", Sandberg said.

She criticized Twitter's decision this week to remove a campaign video from Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee. "In that ad, there's a lot of positions that people don't like, that I don't like".

"We have a set of strict ads policies including limits on political ad targeting and prohibitions on targeting based on race and religion", a Google spokeswoman said, asked about the issue.

Facebook, Twitter, and Google are all under federal scrutiny for the role their platforms played in Russian meddling in the election.

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