Black lawmakers press Facebook on Russian Federation, diversity

The company has now shared with congressional investigators the ads, information on how they were paid for, and how they were targeted, a Facebook spokesman said. "And whenever you have [an] entity like the Russians who are purchasing ads in rubles or dollars through fake accounts, sowing seeds of racial tension and animosity and anti-immigrant sentiment and Islamophobia, we should all be concerned".

The lawmakers didn't give details of their meetings with Sandberg, though Schiff said Facebook officials "certainly realize the intense interest in what the Russians did on their platform, the responsibility they have on their own to ferret this material out".

Operatives traced to the Russian government created a Facebook group called United Muslims of America that published outlandish, false claims, including that Senator John McCain founded Islamic State, the Daily Beast reported.

"What we tried to let her know is that she needs African Americans up there who, when they see some of this stuff, will immediately say 'Oh, no, wait a minute, this is the message they're trying to deliver and this is who it's going to impact, '" said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., a CBC member who attended the meeting. "When you allow free expression, you allow free expression". Before her time at Google and later Facebook, she worked for Larry Summers, the treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton.

Sandberg and others from Facebook were asked to appear before congressional panels earlier this week to provide the information.

"Facebook owes the American people an apology".

She also said, the site had taken steps to stop those behind the fake accounts profiting from the ads they put on Facebook.

Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has backtracked from calling the idea of Facebook's influence on the election "pretty insane".

A member of Congress who viewed about 70 of the roughly 3,000 ads told The Associated Press that they were meant to stir up strong emotions on all sides. Sandberg told congressional investigators on Thursday that in addition to the ads, the company would provide the rest of the information from accounts linked to Russian Federation, the spokesman said.

Sandberg said the company wanted other internet firms to work to make ad purchases more transparent, but said the company was still talking about the issue with lawmakers who want to introduce legislation on the topic.

Besides discussing election meddling, the members also pushed for Facebook to improve diversity in its workforce, particularly in its upper management. Just two of them, including Sandberg, are women.

Vanessa Coleman

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