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Report: Facebook to turn over 3,000 ads to Congress on Monday

Facebook ad probe
Facebook ad probe 02:45

Social media giant Facebook is set to deliver 3,000 ads to Congressional investigators on Monday as part of their ongoing role in lawmakers probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, according to the New York Times.

Facebook had agreed to disclose ads to Congress that were purchased by Russians on the social media platform in that country's effort to influence the 2016 election, the company announced in two weeks ago.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the brief announcement in a live video update on his Facebook page.

"I care deeply about the democratic process and protecting its integrity," he said. "I don't want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy -- that's not what we stand for."

Facebook also plans to hire 1,000 people for its global ad review team over the next year, according to TechCrunch

CBS News confirmed last week, citing to a source familiar with the Facebook investigation, that the company was still in the process of handing over all of the ads connected to Russian internet trolls.  According to a source familiar with the process, the company is trying to be as diligent and careful as possible.

Facebook has been running data and matching information obtained during the investigation into the ads. This process has been described as "cumbersome."

The ads will only pertain to Russian-backed activities in the U.S.  There have been reports of Russian-backed internet troll activities on Facebook targeting other countries.

CBS News has also independently confirmed a report by CNN that at least one ad pertained to Black Lives Matter. A Black Lives Matter ad appeared on Facebook at some point in late 2015 or early 2016. The ad could be seen in two ways -- as supportive of Black Lives Matter, but also as a portrayal of the group as threatening to some residents of Baltimore and Ferguson. The goal was to sow discord.

Over the weekend, Zuckerberg posted a statement on Facebook saying, "For the ways my work was used to divide people rather than bring us together, I ask forgiveness and I will work to do better."

Tonight concludes Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews when we reflect on the past year and ask forgiveness...

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Saturday, September 30, 2017

Facebook has also since detailed ways in which they they are working to "improve review and enforcement of ads and ad accounts."

The social media site said in a statement online that they will effort ways to make advertising more transparent, strengthen enforcement against improper ads, increase requirements for authenticity and establish industry standards and best practices in their fight to handle similar threats. 

"We care deeply about the integrity of elections around the world. We take responsibility for what happens on our platform and we will do everything we can keep our community safe from interference," Facebook said in their statement released on Monday. 

Following Monday's handover of ads, Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Rep. Adam Schiff, said in a statement that the ads are significant to the ongoing investigation "as they help demonstrate how Russia employed sophisticated measures to push disinformation and propaganda to millions of Americans online during the election, in order to sow discord and chaos, and divide us from one another."

Schiff added, "As we fully examine these ads in the coming days, we will be particularly interested in understanding their full reach, in particular to determine what groups and individuals were most heavily targeted and why. We will continue to work with Facebook and other tech companies to determine the full extent of Russia's use of online platforms, including paid advertising, since what we now know may only scratch the surface."

The California Democrat also noted in his statement that the committee will hear from tech firms in an open hearing later this month, where lawmakers hope to make a sampling of the ads public "so we can inoculate the public against future Russian interference in our elections."

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