Facebook, Google, Twitter invited to testify in Russian Federation probe

Twitter disclosed that it has discovered about 200 suspicious Russian accounts and Media Group that bought advertisement targeted at U.S. audiences during the election.

Twitter also says that it found about 200 accounts linked to Facebook accounts that Facebook had identified as being connected to Russian efforts to influence users. All 22 were immediately suspended and Twitter also uncovered 179 accounts linked to or associated with the original 22 that had no ties to any of the 450 Facebook ones. The Twitter accounts, which were taken down over the last month, were linked to 470 accounts and pages that Facebook traced to the International Research Agency, a Russian troll farm.

The news comes after Facebook acknowledged foreign entities linked to Russian Federation paid to promote political messages on the leading social network, potentially violating U.S. election laws, AFP reported.

Attempts by Russia-linked social media accounts to influence events in the U.S. apparently weren't limited to last year's United States election. Twitter reported RT spent $274,100 in USA ads in 2016 that promoted 1,823 tweets.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., called the Twitter presentation before the committees "deeply disappointing". Mark Warner, called the meeting "inadequate on nearly every level".

On Wednesday, the network reported that the Facebook and Twitter pages operating under the name "Blacktivist" were linked to the Russian government to further its efforts to stoke racial tensions in the USA during election season. Twitter has been invited, along with Google and Facebook, to appear at a public hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee this fall.

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Twitter, on the other hand, has shown to have multiple easily faked accounts and news items that allowed influencing of the public by alleged Russian operatives. Twitter also met with congressional investigators to discuss Russian activity on its platform.

"Congress and the American people need to hear this important information directly from these companies", they said.

Twitter has been criticised as being too lax in policing fake or abusive accounts.

These findings among others were handed over to the USA government and Twitter said, "This is an ongoing process and we will continue to collaborate with investigators".

In early September, Facebook announced it had found accounts linked to Russian Federation had spent $100,000 in targeted political advertising during the 2016 campaign.

  • Megan Austin