House Lawmakers Plan to Release Facebook Ads Bought by Russians

By Natalie Andrews Features Dow Jones Newswires

House lawmakers leading an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race plan to release Facebook Inc. ads bought by Russian groups, they said Wednesday.

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"My personal bias is that we'll do it as quick as we can," said Rep. Mike Conaway, the Texas Republican leading the investigation on the House Intelligence Committee.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) the top Democrat on the committee, said: "We've asked for Facebook's help to scrub any personal, identifiable information" from the ads. "After we do that, we'll release them publicly."

Under fire for its response to Russian activity on its site before the presidential vote, Facebook last month agreed to hand over detailed information on thousands of Russian-backed ads to congressional investigators and said it would take steps to increase political transparency.

The social media company has said Russian entities paid $150,000 to run 5,200 divisive ads on its platform during the campaign.

U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that a campaign authorized by the highest levels of the Russian government hacked into state election-board systems and the email networks of political organizations to damage the candidacy of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

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Mr. Conaway said the ads would be released "probably not before Nov. 1."

The Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled to hear from representatives of Facebook, Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Twitter Inc. on Nov. 1 in a public session that will look at how Russian actors used the platforms during the election. The House is planning a similar public hearing but hasn't confirmed a date.

Messers. Conaway and Schiff have meet with Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. Ms. Sandberg had no comment for reporters when she left the meeting.

Write to Natalie Andrews at Natalie.Andrews@wsj.com

"My personal advice is that we'll do it as quick as we can," said Rep. Mike Conaway (R., Texas). "House Lawmakers Plan to Release Facebook Ads Bought by Russians," at 3:48 p.m. ET, incorrectly quoted Mr. Conaway in the second paragraph as saying: "My personal bias is that we'll do it as quick as we can." (Oct. 11, 2017)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 11, 2017 22:33 ET (02:33 GMT)