- A powerful British Parliamentary committee wants answers from Facebook. Its chairman, Damian Collins MP, has written to Mark Zuckerberg. He requested a list of data on Russian election-linked spending. Scroll down to read the letter in full.
A group of MPs has demanded that Facebook reveal any evidence it holds that Russia tried to influence recent major votes in the UK, including the general election and EU referendum.
The House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Select Committee published an open letter on Tuesday to Mark Zuckerberg asking for details of political adverts funded by the Russian state.
The letter, agreed by the committee, was written by Damian Collins MP, the body’s chairman, on official House of Commons paper. It is addressed to “Mark Zuckerberg, Esq.” at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California.
- Damian Collins MP
In the letter Collins said he needs the information for his committee’s investigation into fake news.
Facebook has already provided the US Congress with similar information, revealing that Russian-linked accounts spent around $100,000 on 3,000 ad campaigns in a two-year period spanning the 2016 presidential election.
The letter sets out demands for the following:
- Examples of all adverts purchased by Russian-linked accounts. Examples of all pages set up by Russian-linked accounts. Information regarding the targeting of these adverts and pages. How much money was paid for these adverts or to promote these pages. How many times these adverts were viewed. How many times these pages were viewed.
In an interview with The Sun newspaper, Collins said: “We have seen from the investigation in the USA that Facebook was used by Russian-backed organisations to try and influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.
“We need to know if the same techniques have been used in the UK around our election and the Brexit referendum.
“Facebook holds this information and I would like them to share it with the DCMS select committee as part of our inquiry into fake news, and the impact the abuse of social media platforms can have on our democracy.”
Individual MPs have previously alleged that the government already has details of alleged Russian interference in British elections that it is withholding from the public.
In an interview earlier this year with Business Insider, former Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw said: “Our government clearly knows more than they’re letting on and I think it’s slightly suspicious that they’re not being more open about it. In fact, they’re being less open than any other Western democracy has been.”
Here is the letter to Mark Zuckerberg in full:
- Damian Collins MP