Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg stated in a recent interview that she would support the public release of Russian-linked Facebook ads currently being investigated by Congress.
CNBC reports that Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, has stated that she fully supports the public release of Russian-linked Facebook ads that were turned over to Congress for investigation following fears that they may have been used to influence the 2016 presidential election. “Things happened on our platform in this election that shouldn’t have happened,” Sandberg said in an interview with Axios on Thursday. “Especially — and very troubling — foreign interference in a democratic election. And we know that we have a responsibility to do everything we can to prevent this kind of abuse on our platform.”
Sandberg plans to speak with U.S. lawmakers and the Congressional Black Caucus in Washington today to discuss a number of issues, including fake news, diversity and the possible Russian influence on the company’s platform. Sandberg discussed the Russian-linked ads saying, “We don’t want this kind of foreign interference. These ads are divisive, and they are down, and the pages are down, because they are from fake accounts … a lot of them, if they were run by legitimate people, we would let them run.”
Sandberg said that while Facebook was on high alert for hacking attempts around the time of the election, the company did not expect that their platform could be used in an attempt to influence voters. “And then we started to hear the rumors — and this was around the election itself — of a different kind of attack,” said Sandberg. “It was a more subtle, even though just as important [attack], which is posting in an inauthentic way to try to be deceptive and divisive.” Sandberg further assured the public that Facebook was focusing on identifying the group that ran the ads, “We are following up aggressively on every lead we have,” Sandberg said. She added, “What we really owe the American people is determination. We are determined.”
The Facebook COO also disagreed that Facebook should be treated as a media company, something that many have accused Facebook of acting as since the 2016 election and which Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously denied. “We are very different than a media company. We are a technology company at our heart. We hire engineers. …. but that doesn’t mean we don’t have responsibility,” Sandberg said. Sandberg further stated that the company is attempting to crack down on fake news but will not be invading users privacy to do so, “We don’t check the information people put on Facebook before they run it, and I don’t think anyone should want us to do that,” Sandberg said.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan_ or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.