Facebook's reversal in deciding to provide Congress with copies of the Russian ads, even though doing so wasn't legally compelled as it was in the case of providing Mueller with the ads, seems like a tacit acknowledgement that Facebook understands it is more than just a social media platform with this issue.
United States congressional investigators and special counsel Robert Mueller are examining alleged Russian election interference, which Moscow has denied.
Facebook previously said, out of privacy concerns and federal law, it did not provide investigators with user account information connected to the ads.
Also, he has shared a 9-point step strategy that he and his team have devised to make Facebook more powerful and improve the election ads transparency around the world.
"We support Congress in deciding how to best use this information to inform the public, and we expect the government to publish its findings when their investigation is complete", said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. That is an assessment that can be made only by investigators with access to classified intelligence and information from all relevant companies and industries - and we want to do our part.
Facebook's chief security officer, Alex Stamos, said most of the ads did not mention a specific presidential candidate or the election, but focused on "amplifying divisive social and political messages" on immigration, gun rights and LGBT issues.More news: Dragic leads Slovenia to Eurobasket glory
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Facebook's initial search was for buyers who took out potentially political ads and either self-identified as Russian, had Russian set as their language, had a Russian IP address, or paid for the ad in Russian rubles.
"I don't want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy", Zuckerberg explained in a Facebook post.
"That's not what we stand for", he said.
The change comes amid revelations that Russian disinformation specialists used Facebook to influence voters during the most recent presidential election. USA investigations into alleged Russian interference in the election are now under way.
Criticism of Facebook's lack of transparency over political advertising and reluctance to hand over the data has "underscored how far the social network has strayed from being a mere technology company", the New York Times says. While actively working with the USA authorities, Facebook also plans on continuing its own investigation further by looking for foreign actors, Soviet Groups and review how they used Facebook tools to manipulate the 2016 elections in favor of the current President Donald Trump. "Now, I wish I could tell you we're going to be able to stop all interference, but that wouldn't be realistic".
Facebook won't catch everyone immediately, he added, but it can "make it harder to try to interfere".
"We are in a new world", he added.