Overnight Tech: House Intel to release Russian Facebook ads | Trump tweet on NBC draws backlash | Senators want answers from alleged robocall king | Twitter reverses on Blackburn ad

Overnight Tech: House Intel to release Russian Facebook ads | Trump tweet on NBC draws backlash | Senators want answers from alleged robocall king | Twitter reverses on Blackburn ad
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HOUSE INTEL WILL RELEASE FACEBOOK ADS: The House Intelligence Committee plans to release the Facebook ads purchased by Russian groups during the 2016 presidential race.

The Wednesday announcement from the panel's leaders comes a week after Facebook revealed that Moscow purchased online ads that specifically targeted swing states such as Michigan and Wisconsin as well as particular demographic groups in an attempt to influence the presidential election.

Roughly 10 million Facebook users saw the ads, the company says, which were purchased by the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency.

"We will be releasing them from our committee," Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffRepublicans and Democrats alike face troubling signals from voters Schiff blasts GOP for Russia probe conduct: 'That's how you obstruct an investigation, not how you conduct one' Treason! The new party game that everyone is playing MORE (D-Calif.) told reporters.

The decision came after Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg met with House leaders.

Read more here.


SANDBERG MEETS WITH HOUSE LEADERS AMID RUSSIA PROBE: Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg met with House leaders Wednesday on Capitol Hill to brief them on the social media platform's investigation into alleged Russian use of the site to influence the 2016 presidential campaign.

Following Sandberg's meeting with the House Intelligence Committee, the panel's top members said that they would be making public the 3,000 ads purchased by Russian groups during the campaign that Facebook handed over to congressional investigators.

Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the top Democrat on the panel, said that in addition to the ads, Facebook would also be turning over data on how many people the fake Kremlin-linked accounts were able to reach beyond their paid advertisements.

"Obviously, we're going to want to get a complete sense of what the Russians were doing on their platforms and others," Schiff told reporters after a meeting in the House minority leader's office.

"Not just the advertising but all the downstream consequences of that advertising, all the things that they were pushing out through non-advertising means on these platforms," he said.

Schiff added that he still has questions about how Facebook can be used by malicious actors to manipulate U.S. politics.

Sandberg also met Wednesday with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) before heading to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) office to brief Pelosi, Schiff and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) on the company's Russia investigation.

Sandberg declined to answer questions from reporters in between meetings, though lawmakers from both parties seemed encouraged by their meetings with the Facebook executive.

Read more here.


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TRUMP NBC THREAT PROMPTS BACKLASH: President Trump's suggestion that NBC should potentially have its broadcast license challenged has prompted a wave of condemnation from both sides of the aisle, with many saying that such a move would violate the First Amendment.

Trump lashed out at NBC News on Wednesday after the outlet reported that Trump had suggested increasing the nation's nuclear arms stockpile during a meeting with top Cabinet officials.

"With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!" Trump tweeted.

While the idea was roundly criticized as a threat to the free press, many don't believe that the president would be able to follow through.

Read more here.


BLACK CAUCUS WILL PRESS SANDBERG ON RACE: Some members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) have formed a coalition to press Facebook for action on racial issues, a congressional aide with knowledge of the discussions tells The Hill.

"[They're] done with the excuses," the aide said.

The coalition, whose membership is still unclear, plans to take advantage of its meeting with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on Thursday to press her on what they see as the social media giant's inaction on race issues.

The Sandberg discussion is part of a growing feeling in the CBC that lawmakers need to draw the line with technology companies who they say are neglecting matters that hurt people of color on their platforms and within their companies.

Read more here.


THUNE, MORAN WANT ROBOCALL ANSWERS: Two senators are pushing a robocaller to explain how he ran his operation, which was subject to the largest-ever fine handed down on the matter by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneEx-Trump adviser: Shutdown 'not worst idea in the world' 74 protesters charged at Capitol in protest of Kavanaugh Senate clears 4B ‘minibus’ spending measure MORE (R-S.D.) and Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranTougher Russia sanctions face skepticism from Senate Republicans Farm groups fear Trump aid won’t fix trade damage GOP senator: Trump said he never heard of anyone who didn’t want a payment from the government MORE (R-Kan.) sent a letter to Adrian Abramovich on Wednesday, asking him to explain how his robocalling operation worked and what he's doing to mitigate any harm he may have caused.

In June, the FCC fined Abramovich $122 million for his robocall company, which allegedly conducted almost 100 million illegal automated calls attempting to lure individuals into buying vacation packages and timeshares.

Read more here.


TWITTER GIVES IN ON BLACKBURN AD: Twitter reversed its decision to block a GOP congresswoman from promoting her campaign video on its website.

In a video announcing her campaign for the Senate, Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnElection Countdown: Takeaways from too-close-to-call Ohio special election | Trump endorsements cement power but come with risks | GOP leader's race now rated as 'toss-up' | Record numbers of women nominated | Latino candidates get prominent role in 2020 Top Koch official fires back at critics: We are not an 'appendage' of the GOP The Hill's Morning Report: Trump tries to rescue Ohio House seat as GOP midterm fears grow MORE (R-Tenn.) referenced "baby body parts," which Twitter called a violation of its guidelines.

The social media network said on Monday she couldn't promote the video on Twitter unless she removed the phrase, but changed course Tuesday.

"Our ads policies strive to balance protecting our users from potentially distressing content while allowing our advertisers to communicate their messages. Nowhere is this more difficult than in the realm of political advertising and the highly charged issues that are often addressed therein. After further review, we have made the decision to allow the content in question from Rep. Blackburn's campaign ad to be promoted on our ads platform," a spokesperson said in a statement.

Read more here.



The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the effects of digital trade on business at 10:15 a.m.

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) will hold a lunch on privacy laws at 12:15 p.m.



Pinterest acknowledges Russia-linked political posts appeared on the site

Democrats rip White House for lack of infrastructure plan

The Guardian: Facebook and Instagram services restored after major global disruption

The Ringer: Is it time to regulate Silicon Valley?

WSJ: Qualcomm is fined $773 million by Taiwan over patent practices

Gizmodo: How Facebook outs sex workers