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Facebook releasing 3,000 Russian-bought adverts to Congress

Hannah Boland
Facebook - PA

Facebook is releasing the content of around 3,000 adverts bought by Russian interests to Congressional investigators, saying it was "actively working" with the US government on the probe into Russian interference in the presidential election.

The move comes just weeks after the social media giant revealed a group based in Russia had spent at least $100,000 (£74,000) on adverts on Facebook in a bid to influence the US vote.

In a Facebook post and a live video, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said he had directed 3,000 Russian-bought adverts to be released to Congress.

"We support Congress in deciding how to best use this information to inform the public and we expect the government to publish its finding when the investigation is complete," Mr Zuckerberg said.

"We will work with others to create a new standard for transparency for online political ads."

He said Facebook "won't catch everyone immediately", but instead can "make it harder to try to interfere".

Facebook said in a blog post that "disclosing content is not something we do lightly under any circumstances".

The adverts had already been released to Federal authorities which are conducting an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

Calls for Facebook to release the content to members of Congress as well, however, had been ramping up in recent weeks, after Facebook publicly announced that the accounts "likely operated out of Russia" had bought and released a series of adverts at key times during the US election campaign, mostly promoting divisive messages on issues such as gun rights and race.

These adverts were linked to 470 accounts and pages Facebook said were "inauthentic" and have since been suspended.

Facebook is expected to be called before the Senate Intelligence Committee for a public hearing next month. 

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