Sheryl Sandberg meets with lawmakers investigating Russia-linked Facebook ads

The social media company previously turned over ads and data to investigators.

ByABC News
October 11, 2017, 10:17 PM

— -- Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, met with top lawmakers investigating Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election at the Capitol Wednesday, after which the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee said they would release some of the thousands of Russian-linked Facebook ads that had been turned over to Congress.

Sandberg's meeting with Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Mike Conaway, R-Texas, came as congressional investigators reviewed thousands of the social media ads linked to Russia that sought to sow division among U.S. voters ahead of the election.

Speaking after their meeting, Schiff and Conaway told reporters they hope to release the ads soon.

"We’ve asked for Facebook’s help to help scrub any personally identifiable information, but it’s our hope that when they conclude, then we can release them publicly," said Schiff.

Facebook plans to work with with the committee to address any privacy concerns before the panel releases the ads. Some of the ads, for example, include re-purposed photos of people are not aware they were used in Russian ads.

Facebook turned over the ads and related data to congressional investigators and the special counsel's office. The social media giant, along with Twitter and Alphabet (Google's parent company), has been invited to testify before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees about Russian efforts to impact the election using social media on Nov. 1.

"We believe the three companies will be represented that will be meaningful to this conversation," Conaway told reporters.

Asked about their meeting Wednesday, Conaway said Facebook is "looking for every solution they can" to help American voters determine "what the propaganda is" on the company's site.

Sandberg also met with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., on Wednesday. On Thursday, she will meet with members of the Congressional Black Caucus regarding race-related Facebook ads that were linked to Russia, according to a caucus aide.

Those ads, which were also turned over to congressional investigators, were aimed at inflaming racial tensions, according to a source who has reviewed the advertisements.

A representative for Facebook declined a request for comment.

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