Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said she “absolutely” supports the public release of the 3,000 Russia-linked ads the company has shared with congressional investigators — saying, though, that it’s up to those investigators to do it.
“We think it’s important that [congressional investigators] get the whole picture and that they explain that transparently to the American public,” Sandberg said in an interview with Axios at the Newseum Thursday. “So that when they were ready, when they wanted to make a decision to release those ads, we stand ready to help them.”
Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday after Sandberg met with members of the panel that it would eventually release the ads. But, Schiff said, that won’t likely happen until after tech company executives testify Nov. 1 about Russia’s influence in the 2016 U.S. election.
Sandberg is meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus Thursday morning. Caucus members have raised alarms about the use of social media to amplify racial divisions in the United States.
The Facebook COO deflected a question on whether the company owes the country an apology for abuse of its platform during the presidential election. Whenever the platform is misused, “it’s not just that we apologize,” adding, “we’re angry, we’re upset,” she said.
Sandberg also said her company would have run an advertisement from Rep. Marsha Blackburn that Twitter briefly pulled because it was deemed inflammatory.
Sandberg said he has a strong pro-choice position and supports Planned Parenthood. But she said, “When you cut off speech for one person, you cut off speech for all people,” adding, “The responsibility of an open platform is to let people express themselves. We don’t check the information people put on Facebook before they run it.”
Blackburn, who is running to replace retiring Sen. Bob Corker, launched her campaign with a video proclaiming herself “a hard core, card-carrying Tennessee conservative.” In her announcement video, she boasts: “I fought Planned Parenthood and we stopped the sale of baby body parts. Thank God.”
Twitter decided the line violated its ad policies, and barred the Blackburn campaign from paying to promote it on the platform. After sharp criticism from Blackburn, who said “Silicon Valley elites” were trying to “impose their values,” Twitter reversed its decision.