Facebook to Turn Over Russian-Linked Ads to Congress


In his seven-minute talk from Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., Mr. Zuckerberg also noted that it was his first day back from parental leave after the birth of a daughter. But despite that folksy touch, he had the look of an improbably young leader addressing his people at a moment of crisis.

Video by ABC News

With his talk of “the democratic process,” “foreign actors,” and “election integrity” — in Germany as well as in the United States — Mr. Zuckerberg underscored Facebook’s status as a transnational global behemoth whose power reaches into every corner of contemporary life.

“We are in a new world,” he said. “It is a new challenge for internet communities to deal with nation-states attempting to subvert elections. But if that’s what we must do, we are committed to rising to the occasion.”

Twitter, which has kept a low profile since Facebook’s disclosure of the Russian intrusion, said it will brief the Senate Intelligence Committee next Wednesday behind closed doors.

In a statement, Twitter did not address illicit Russian activity on its platform but said it “deeply respects the integrity of the election process, a cornerstone of all democracies” and vowed to “continue to strengthen our platform against bots and other forms of manipulation.”

Representative John Sarbanes, a Maryland Democrat and the chairman of a group called the Democracy Reform Task Force that is tracking the Russian interference, said it was urgently necessary to understand Russia’s actions and prevent a repeat in future campaigns.

“We’re telling the F.E.C., let’s get going on this, because the 2018 election is bearing down on us,” he said. “I think it’s fair to expect the companies to have a higher level of vigilance and catch this stuff on the front end, instead of after the fact.”

The New York Times reported this month that Russian intelligence appeared to have been behind an infestation of Twitter with automated accounts, called bots, that spread messages against Hillary Clinton last year. The cyber security company FireEye identified what it called “warlists” of hundreds of fake accounts that fired off identical political messages.

The Times also found Facebook accounts that appeared to have been created by ordinary Americans but were actually concocted by Russian agents. Facebook, which had said as recently as July that it had found no evidence of fraudulent Russian ad purchases, reversed itself this month and said it had removed the 470 profiles and pages, which it said were linked to the Internet Research Agency, a Russian company with Kremlin ties.

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