Facebook to Release Russian-Linked Ads to Congressional Investigators

By Robert McMillan and Byron Tau Features Dow Jones Newswires

Facebook Inc. said Thursday it has struck a deal with Congress to share Russia-backed ads purchased during the U.S. presidential campaign with congressional investigators, capitulating to political pressure to be more forthcoming with information.

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In recent weeks, investigators have begun scrutinizing what role Russian activity on social media might have played in the election, especially after Facebook disclosed that it found more than $150,000 in Russian-linked ad spending on more than 5,200 ads on its platform.

"After an extensive legal and policy review, today we are announcing that we will also share these ads with congressional investigators," the company said in a statement. "We believe it is vitally important that government authorities have the information they need to deliver to the public a full assessment of what happened in the 2016 election."

The House and Senate intelligence committees are conducting separate probes of Russian activity during the 2016 election with the aim of writing comprehensive reports to publicly document what happened during last year's divisive campaign. Facebook had shared limited information with the committees in recent weeks and made more complete disclosures to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading a separate criminal and counterintelligence investigation into the same topic.

Write to Robert McMillan at Robert.Mcmillan@wsj.com and Byron Tau at byron.tau@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

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September 21, 2017 16:06 ET (20:06 GMT)