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U.S. House Members To Release Facebook Ads Allegedly Bought By Russian Operatives

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook
Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee said they will publicly release thousands of Facebook ads allegedly purchased by Russian operatives during last year's presidential election.

Representatives Mike Conaway and Adam Schiff told reporters after meeting with Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg on October 11 that they were working with the company to release the ads publicly.

"We've asked for Facebook's help to scrub any personally identifiable information, but it's our hope that when that concludes we can release them publicly," Schiff said.

Conaway said it was unlikely the ads would be released before Facebook testifies before Congress on November 1 about Russian interference in the election.

Conaway said Sandberg told the committee behind closed doors that Facebook is working hard to ensure Americans "understand what the propaganda is that they may or may not be reading."

The committee is one of several congressional panels investigating allegations of Russian meddling. Facebook recently provided it with more than 3,000 of what it described as politically divisive ads that it believes were purchased by Russian operatives.

The social-media company said the ads were disseminated on its network in the months before and after the election.

Facebook's disclosure of the Russian-financed ads, which it said appeared to be aimed at fanning divisions among U.S. voters over issues such as homosexuality, race, and immigration, was followed recently by similar disclosures from Google and Twitter.

All three companies have been asked to testify publicly about Russian interference before both the House and Senate intelligence panels on November 1.

While Facebook and Twitter have confirmed their plans to attend, Google has not.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP

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