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Technology

Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg on the election: 'Things happened on our platform that shouldn't have'

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said she supports the public release of Russian-linked political Facebook ads that have been shared with Congress.

“Things happened on our platform that shouldn’t have happened,” Sandberg said to Axios on Thursday.

Sandberg is expected to meet with members of Congress on Thursday in Washington, D.C., according to Recode. Sandberg has already met with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, according to previous reports. (Sandberg supported Hillary Clinton, who was defeated in the election.)

The meetings come as Congress is investigating the role of Russian actors in the 2016 election, including thousands of advertisements that ran on Facebook. Sandberg said she supports releasing the advertisements, as well as the pages they were linked to, publicly. She said the targeting of those ads will also be released.

“We don’t want this kind of foreign interference,” Sandberg said. “These ads are divisive, and they are down, and the pages are down, because they are from fake accounts … a lot of them if they were from legitimate people, we would let them run.”

But Sandberg also called for other platforms to rise to a similar standard of transparency, and noted that the ads that promote violence and hate were part of the problem that Facebook had already been working to address.

Sandberg said that in the early days of monitoring on Facebook, preventing the hacking of private accounts was a primary goal. But she said that at this point, Facebook believes it has done a “thorough” job of identifying the Russian actor in question, thanks in part to the use of roubles to purchase the ads, and the presence of fake accounts.

“We are following up aggressively on every lead we have,” Sandberg said.

Facebook has been criticized for the promotion of fake news by creating “echo chambers,” and for allowing targeting of specific groups. But Sandberg said that users who get news on Facebook typically see a broader set of sources than through traditional media.

“We are very different than a media company …. but that doesn’t mean we don’t have responsibility,” Sandberg said. “At our heart, we’re a tech company. We hire engineers.”

(Facebook did hire famous journalists like Campbell Brown and hosts videos shows).

She also said that Facebook has found marking “fake news” as hoaxes decreases the number of times a story is shared.

“We don’t check the information posted on Facebook before people post it, and I don’t think people should want us to,” Sandberg said.

Source: Tech CNBC
Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg on the election: 'Things happened on our platform that shouldn't have'

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