Facebook to release pro-Trump adverts Russians used in 2016 election

Alexandra Wilts
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the keynote address at Facebook's F8 Developer Conference on April 18, 2017: Getty Images

Facebook has agreed to provide congressional investigators with advertisements purchased by Russians to influence the 2016 election.

"After an extensive legal and policy review, today we are announcing that we will also share these ads with congressional investigators," Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch said in a statement. "We believe it is vitally important that government authorities have the information they need to deliver to the public a full assessment of what happened in the 2016 election."

Intelligence committees in the Senate and House of Representatives are conducting separate probes into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential race.

The social media company is also reportedly handing over information to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is trying to determine whether President Donald Trump's campaign advisers colluded with the Russian government to influence the election.

In recent weeks, Facebook had faced increased pressure to be more transparent about the Russian-related adverts after that company disclosed that it found more than $150,000 in Russian-linked ad spending on more than 5,200 ads on its platform.

According to the New York Times, Facebook had previously shown congressional staffers a sample of the ads, several of which praised Donald Trump or attacked Hillary Clinton.

Facebook’s September 6 admission could lead to future regulation of political advertising on social media platforms, including Twitter.