Sandberg: Russian ads should 'absolutely' be released

Sandberg: Russian ads should 'absolutely' be released
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Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said on Thursday that she “absolutely” agrees with the decision to release the 3,000 political ads that her company believes were purchased by Russians.

“Things happened on our platform during this election that should not have happened,” Sandberg said during a live interview with Axios's Mike Allen. “We know that we have a responsibility to do everything we can to prevent this kind of abuse.”

The House Intelligence Committee announced Wednesday that it would be making the ads public, a month after Facebook first revealed that it had sold $100,000 in ads to the Internet Research Agency, which Facebook says is a Russian “troll farm.”

Sandberg met also met with House leaders and congressional investigators on Wednesday.

During the interview on Thursday, she was grilled about her talks with lawmakers and what the company has learned about the alleged influence campaign on Facebook’s platform.

She told Allen that Facebook would assist in stripping the content of any personally identifiable information.

But Sandberg repeatedly dodged a question about whether there was any overlap in the users targeted by the troll farm and the Trump campaign, promising that the targeting information would be released.

Sandberg admitted that the primary reason that Facebook suspended the 470 accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency is that they were fake and not because of the content of the ads themselves.

“Most of them would be allowed to run” if the ads had come from authentic accounts, Sandberg said.

Sandberg apologized for selling the ads to the Kremlin, but promised that the company is working to reform its advertising policies in an effort to set “a new standard” in transparency.

She also took a subtle dig at Twitter over its decision earlier this week to suspend an ad from Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump questions Kavanaugh accuser's account | Accuser may testify Thursday | Midterm blame game begins The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh, accuser say they’re prepared to testify The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh and his accuser will testify publicly MORE (R-Tenn.) that used the term “baby body parts” in a reference to her anti-abortion record.

“I’m a staunch supporter of reproductive rights, a staunch supporter of Planned Parenthood,” Sandberg said. “Planned Parenthood is not selling baby body parts. But the question is, should divisive political or issue ads run? Our answer is yes.”