By: Zack Duvall
After months of intense pressure from congressional and intelligence community leaders, Facebook has said that it will hand over information on over 3,000 Russian-linked 2016, election-related, political ads.
The news came from the social media giant on Sunday, only days after a live video posted to the platform by founder, Mark Zuckerberg, who promised a massive “overhaul” of the company’s advertising systems and oversight, including hiring 1,000 new employees to monitor the political ad space on the platform.
Zuckererg also said that he would work closely with intelligence and technology experts to improve the site’s ability to confront “nation-states” who may attempt to influence American elections through social media advertising campaigns.
“It is a very new challenge for internet communities to deal with nation-states attempting to subvert elections. But if that’s what we must do, we will rise to the occasion.” Zuckerberg told viewers during the live video posted to his Facebook page last week.
However, Zuckerberg, nor company officials, have outlined exactly what the advertisements set to be handed over contained as far as content and topics specifically, or how they plan to combat such action by foreign entities in the future. Sources claim that the content is related to religion, race, gun ownership and various other major political, potentially divisive topics.
Amidst the fierce criticism of Facebook and its handling of the potential by leaders of both sides of the aisle in congress, lawmakers have called for legislation to be passed in order to regulate social media and internet-based political ads in the same manner that TV and newspaper ads are. Lawmakers such as Democrat, Mark Werner of Virginia who has formally asked the Federal Election Commission to assist in developing ways that congress can take action to prevent foreign entities from purchasing online ads to sway American elections.
No formal legislation has been proposed by any member of congress as of yet however, and there is no indication as to how such policy would be enforced on the global cyber landscapes of Facebook, not to mention the entire “American internet”.
Intelligence officials and members of both the House and Senate will review the information being handed over by Facebook, and several reviews and hearings in the Senate’s Intelligence Committee are scheduled for the upcoming weeks and committee members have said that plans to combat the issue will be released as the hearings get underway.