Facebook's top lawyer - not Zuck - will testify before Congress on Russia-linked ads

FILE PHOTO: Facebook logo is seen  at a start-up companies gathering at Paris' Station F in Paris, France on January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo

Thomson Reuters

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg will not publicly testify before Congress about Russia's use of social media to influence US elections.
  • The company is instead sending its top lawyer, Colin Stretch to testify on November 1.
  • Facebook reports its quarterly earnings the same day as the hearing.

Facebook's general counsel will testify on November 1 before a US House of Representatives panel investigating possible Russian meddling in the 2016 US election, the company said on Thursday.

Executives from Twitter and Alphabet's Google also were expected to appear at a public hearing before the House intelligence committee, but have not yet said who will represent them.
General counsel Colin Stretch will be the Facebook representative to testify, company spokesman Andy Stone said. The company's high-profile Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg will not appear. The hearing will take place the same day Facebook reports its quarterly earnings.

Some US lawmakers, increasingly alarmed over evidence that hackers used the internet to spread fake news and otherwise influence last year's election, have been pushing for more information about social networks.

In the US Senate, Republican John McCain and Democrats Amy Klobuchar and Mark Warner planned to introduce legislation on Thursday that would impose new disclosure requirements on political ads that run on Facebook and other websites.

The Senate and House intelligence committees are two of the main congressional panels probing allegations that Russia sought to interfere in the US election to boost Republican President Donald Trump's chances of winning, and possible collusion between Trump associates and Russia.

Moscow has denied the allegations, and Trump has repeatedly dismissed any accusations of collusion.