CEO Mark Zuckerberg initially shrugged at the notion that his platform could be used to sway an election, but after repeated demands from lawmakers, he agreed last week to turn over the full evidence of Russian-led ad buys to congressional investigators. Facebook wrote that 10 million Americans saw the ads, but if only 44 percent of the impressions came before the election then that means only 4.4 million Americans saw the ads before the election, too.
And he said some of the ads may still be on the site.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said Monday that he hoped to release "a representative sampling of these ads" next month, following the public hearing with Facebook and other tech companies. The company said it found 450 accounts and about $100,000 was spent on the ads.
Facebook vice president of communications Elliot Schrage on Monday posted answers to "hard questions" prompted by the Russian Federation ads. The Campaign Legal Center is a nonprofit of Washington that supports for additional elections transparency, this week sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, the Chief Executive of Facebook, requesting that the firm publicly rolls out the content of the supposed Russia-connected political ads. He added that for half the ads, less than $3 was spent, and that $1,000 or more was spent on less than 1 percent of the ads.
"The 2016 U.S. election was the first where evidence has been widely reported that foreign actors sought to exploit the internet to influence voter behaviour", said Schrage.
The Baltimore Sun's September 29 editorial, "Russian election meddling was sophisticated and pervasive - and it's not over", highlights state-sponsored efforts by Russia to sway the 2016 election through Facebook ads and other online advertising platforms.
None of the companies have said whether they will accept the invitations. This step, according to Facebook, would help deter Russian Federation or any other country from meddling in the elections in the future.
Facebook said that some of the ads were paid for in Russian currency and "currency alone isn't a good way of identifying suspicious activity, because the overwhelming majority of advertisers who pay in Russian currency, like the overwhelming majority of people who access Facebook from Russia, aren't doing anything wrong". Warner and his fellow Senators have criticized both Facebook and Twitter for the limited scope of their findings. The company's presentations to staff last week "showed an enormous lack of understanding from the Twitter team of how serious this issue is, the threat it poses to democratic institutions", he said.