Wednesday, 18 October, 2017

Congressional Black Caucus Chides Sandberg Over Lack Of Diversity At Facebook

Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg says Congress should 'absolutely' release Russia adverts Facebook has "an enormous responsibility" for Russian interference in US election
Dexter Carr | 14 October, 2017, 00:25

"They've got to be able to do better than this", Lazowska told GeekWire this week.

During Sandberg's visit, caucus members not only took Facebook to task over its lily-white board of directors, prompting Sanberg's vow to help diversify the company, but also the Russian-bought ad referencing Black Lives Matter meant to fuel race-based tensions. The social media platform says that Russia-linked groups spent about $150,000 on political ads, including some promotions that mentioned either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton by name.

Business Insider said a firm that is a major source of news and information for people, generates billions in ad revenue and is producing its own original television shows is classified as a media company and Facebook does all of that.

Sandberg and others from Facebook appeared before USA congressional panels looking into reports of Russian interference in the election. If the company accepts that it is a media firm, it would open the platform up to regulatory rules in the United States and other countries which Facebook would rather avoid.

Facebook found roughly 3,000 ads paid for by Russian operatives related to the 2016 campaign.

Sandberg said the company wanted other internet firms to work to make ad purchases more transparent, but said the company was still talking about the issue with lawmakers who want to introduce legislation on the topic.

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A Twitter spokesperson did not respond to an email requesting comment.

The use of social media platforms was part of what US intelligence agencies have concluded was a broader Russian effort to meddle in the election campaign, an allegation the Kremlin has denied. The company's 2017 diversity report showed that women now make up 35 percent of Facebook's global workforce, up from 33 percent a year ago.

"This is a very fragile moment in time for African-Americans across this country", CBC chairman Cedric Richmond said. US officials have called it a "troll factory" that creates false identities or copies real ones to spread real, skewed, and fake information for the Kremlin.

They said Facebook lawyers have argued that turning over additional data could compromise its promise of privacy to its users.

But she also said that had the ads been linked to legitimate, rather than fake, Facebook accounts, "most of them would have been allowed to run".

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