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Sensitive Facebook documents could be published 'within the next week'

The documents may contain evidence that Facebook knew about Russian interference as early as 2014.

The seized documents are thought to include communications with CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
James Martin/CNET

The UK may release documents "within the next week" about Facebook's knowledge of Russian interference on the social network, a member of Parliament said Tuesday. The documents may contain evidence that Facebook knew about the issue as early as 2014.

Parliament seized the documents over the weekend from the founder of app development company Six4Three while he was visiting London.

Damian Collins, the member of Parliament who heads the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, noted at a press conference that he couldn't give an exact date for the release. 

In a committee session Tuesday, Collins said that the documents contain an email from a Facebook engineer alerting senior people in the company to potential Russian interference on the platform as early as 2014. 

Facebook said that wasn't the end of the story.

"The engineers who had flagged these initial concerns subsequently looked into this further and found no evidence of specific Russian activity," a Facebook spokesman said in a statement Wednesday.

The documents are also believed to include private internal communications among Facebook executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, regarding Facebook's business model.

A California court, which has had the same documents under seal in the US, has asked Facebook to reassert this week why they should remain sealed.

"There is a clearly growing interest in what the documents contain," said Collins.

Collins' committee is currently combing through the documents, but there is a large number and some will require redaction before they're made public, he said.

"Our duty of care is to go through them properly," said Collins. Once the committee has confirmed that the contents are in the public interest, the best step would be to publish them altogether as a block, he added.

First published Nov. 27 at 7:17 a.m. PT.
Update, Nov. 28 at 7:51 a.m. PT: Adds statement from Facebook.

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