Facebook will provide to Congress the contents of 3,000 advertisements purchased by Russians during the 2016 United States presidential race, Mark Zuckerberg announced on Thursday following weeks of scrutiny surrounding the social network's potential role in influencing elections. "After an extensive legal and policy review, we've concluded that sharing the ads we've discovered with Congress, in a manner that is consistent with our obligations to protect user information, will help government authorities complete the vitally important work of assessing what happened in the 2016 election".
Facebook has briefed members of Congress and also provided the ads and other information to Robert Mueller, the special counsel in charge of the Russian Federation investigation, the company said.
Zuckerberg said that, similar to political ads on television or the radio, banners on Facebook will now have to disclose what page is paying for them.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also provided a live update in which he explained the decision and what the company planned to do about future attempts to interfere in USA elections.
Zuckerberg said Facebook will more than double the team working on election integrity, without revealing how many staffers that now does or would eventually entail. But we can make it harder.
The ads, which cost about $100,000 to $150,000, focused on social issues, including same-sex marriage and LGBT civil rights, gun control, immigration, and race relations.
"As a general rule, we are limited in what we can discuss publicly about law enforcement investigations, so we may not always be able to share our findings publicly", he said.
In his speech, Zuckerberg said Facebook would also create a "new standard" for transparency in political advertising so users can better understand which pages are paying for ads. "We will roll this out over the coming months", said Zuckerberg.
And says, "I don't want anyone to use our tools to undermine our democracy".
Facebook executives had briefed the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month on the Russian-linked ads. The committee's top Democrat, Sen.
Despite an ongoing federal investigation into the country's influence in the 2016 presidential election, a number of Democrats in the House and Senate intelligence committees are still concerned that Russian Federation will be, if it isn't now, back to disrupting US elections very soon.