Zuckerberg vows to make Facebook political advertising more transparent

Rodiano Bonacci
Settembre 22, 2017

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday Russia-linked ads on the huge social network aimed at inflaming tensions around last year's U.S. presidential election will be given to Congress.

While Zuckerberg noted that the amount of content on Facebook meant to interfere with the election is relatively small, he also said that any attempted interference is a serious issue.

"But, we are committed to rising to the occasion".

"Facebook's mission is all about giving people a voice and bringing people closer together", said the company's CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a live video broadcasted on the social network.

The tech firm said it isn't releasing the ads to the public because federal law restricts them from disclosing Facebook account information.

Facebook said Thursday it will share more than 3,000 ads linked to Russian Federation with congressional investigators looking into whether the country meddled in the 2016 US presidential election.

"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", Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch said in a blog post.

Facebook, which has more than 2 billion users, was criticized for not doing enough to combat fake news during the presidential election.

This month, Facebook revealed that fake accounts and pages that likely have ties to Russian Federation spent $100,000 in divisive political ads from June 2015 to May 2017 before the US presidential election.

Most of the ads run by the accounts didn't directly reference the United States presidential election, voting, or particular candidates but instead appeared focused on "amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum", according to Stamos.

With Facebook still under fire after inadvertently selling ads to Russian operatives during the 2016 election, the mood in both Silicon Valley and Washington is shifting against the company. "That's not what we stand for".

"Not only will you have to disclose which page paid for an ad, but we will also make it so you can visit an advertiser's page and see the ads they're now running to any audience on Facebook", Zuckerberg continued, noting that the new feature will be rolled out within the next several months.

Facebook is also ramping up its team devoted to election integrity, and looking to expand partnerships with elections officials and candidates around the world.

"I wish I could tell you we're going to be able to stop all interference, but that wouldn't be realistic", he said.

"It is important that technology companies collaborate on this because it is nearly certain that any actor trying to abuse Facebook will try to abuse other online platforms too", Zuckerberg said.

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