"This has been a hard decision", Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch wrote in a post on Facebook's corporate news page, adding: "Disclosing content is not something we do lightly under any circumstances. We don't check what people say before they say it, and frankly, I don't think our society should want us to", Zuckerberg said.
Facebook earlier this month agreed to hand over information about the ads from Russian entity known as the Internet Research Agency to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of the 2016 election and today it made a decision to turn over the information to congressional investigators.
The social network has come under fire recently after disclosing that Russian-tied accounts bought $150,000 worth of ads between June 2015 and May 2017. "We are cooperating with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in its inquiry into the 2016 election and will meet with committee staff next week", a spokesperson for the company wrote in an email.
The CEO said in a Facebook live video on Thursday that the company would provide the controversial ads to government officials to support ongoing investigations in the USA and as part of the social media company's renewed efforts to protect the "integrity" of elections around the world. The CEO tried to downplay the content that was found by Facebook saying it was "relatively small". "We will roll this out over the coming months", said Zuckerberg.
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The company will continue to investigate Russia's use of the platform to meddle with the USA election. "We are looking into foreign actors, including additional Russian groups and other former Soviet states, as well as organizations like the campaigns, to further our understanding of how they used our tools". And, of course, we also recognize and support the important work of government investigations and take care not to take steps, like public disclosures, that might undermine them.
One of the moves is to "make political advertisement more transparent" by revealing who paid for the ads and including more information.
Facebook's chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, said that the company was taking steps to provide more transparency about political ads that run on the site and to prevent covert attempts to influence elections. Bringing up the German elections next weekend, the company said it will expand partnerships with election commissions worldwide and will create channel of online risks during elections.