Facebook exec meets with lawmakers amid Russian Federation probe

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.   Drew Angerer  Getty Images

A month ago, Facebook revealed that a Russian group bought $100,000 worth of ads on the social network in an apparent effort to influence the 2016 US Presidential election.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled to hear from representatives of Facebook, Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Twitter Inc. on November 1 in a public session that will look at how Russian actors used the platforms during the election.

Facebook identified 150 ads bought by Russian-linked accounts on #Instagram to interfere in the previous year presidential election, Fox News reported.

Facebook, along with Twitter, alleges that its ads were purchased by a Kremlin-affiliated content farm known as the Internet Research Agency, based in St. Petersburg.

While Conaway and Schiff had previously expressed a desire to release the ads, Senate intelligence committee chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina said he did not want his committee to do so, arguing that any documents turned over to the committee were sensitive and should not be made public.

Earlier, Facebook said that the main aim of the Russian interference was to spread the political and social divisive messages around the U.S. They were focused on such issues as Black Lives Matter, LGBT topics, immigration, and ammunition.

The coalition, whose membership is still unclear, plans to take advantage of its meeting with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on Thursday to press her on what they see as Facebook's inaction on race issues.

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"It will be released by our committee", said Schiff.

At the meeting with Republicans, Rep. Greg Walden - the leader of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees tech - "inquired about Facebook's latest efforts to protect Americans' personal information online and ensure the platform is enforcing its terms of use rules", a panel source told Recode.

Asked what he wanted to know from Sandberg, Hoyer said: "What they knew and when they knew it".

Added PR expert Mike Paul: "The entire advertising world is very anxious, but few will admit publicly that the negative news is affecting Facebook because it is the 800-pound gorilla globally for ad and media buyers". Facebook has also declined to make the ads public.

"You and I as voters are responsible for where we get information and how we trust it, and whether we trust it", Conaway said.

"In reviewing the ads buys, we have found approximately $100,000 in ad spending from June of 2015 to May of 2017 - associated with roughly 3,000 ads - that was connected to about 470 inauthentic accounts and Pages in violation of our policies". The person said the ads were meant to inflame all sides, with some showing white police officers beating black people.

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