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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Twitter tells Congress it has suspended hundreds of Russia-linked accounts

    Twitter tells Congress it has suspended hundreds of Russia-linked accounts

    Platform says it banned 201 accounts tied to thousands in political ad spending, as congressional investigators press for details on Russian election interference

    Several investigations into alleged Russian influence in the election are under way.

    Lauren Gambino in Washington
    Thursday 28 September 2017 17.14 EDT
    First published on Thursday 28 September 2017 11.48 EDT

    Twitter has suspended 201 accounts tied to Russian-linked sources that purchased thousands of dollars of political ads on Facebook during the 2016 presidential election, officials from the social media giant told congressional investigators on Thursday.

    In a blogpost, Twitter said it shared its findings during a series of briefings in Washington on Thursday with staff from the Senate and House intelligence committees.



    Mark Zuckerberg: I regret ridiculing fears over Facebook's effect on election

    Read more
    The company also identified three accounts linked to the news site Russia Today, known by its acronym, RT, that spent $274,100 on sponsored tweets in 2016. The blogpost noted that the intelligence officials have previously linked the news network to the Kremlin.

    “Neither the original accounts shared by Facebook, nor the additional related accounts we identified, were registered as advertisers on Twitter,” Twitter said in the blogpost. “However, we continue to investigate these issues, and will take action on anything that violates our terms of service.”


    The meeting between officials from Twitter and congressional investigators was part of a widening inquiry into the extent that Russia sought to use social media platforms to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.


    The closed-door briefings followed a similar briefing involving Facebook, which revealed earlier this month that it sold more than 3,000 election ads linked to a Russian agency.


    The Senate and House committees are trying to understand the degree to which Russia and groups allied with the Kremlin may have used such platforms to spread fake news stories and misinformation – and what the companies could have done to stem such attacks.


    The House intelligence committee announced on Wednesday that it plans an open hearing with the tech companies “in the coming month”. A Senate aide confirmed that Twitter, Facebook and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, have been invited to testify publicly on 1 November.


    “In the coming month, we will hold an open hearing with representatives from tech companies in order to better understand how Russia used online tools and platforms to sow discord in and influence our election,” said California congressman Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee.


    “Congress and the American people need to hear this important information directly from these companies.”


    Twitter is under increased pressure from lawmakers and the public to disclose what it knows about Russian activity. Facebook has come under increased scrutiny after acknowledging that hundreds of accounts and pages probably operated from Russia spent nearly $100,000 on ads.


    Russia's election ad campaign shows Facebook's biggest problem is Facebook


    Julia Carrie Wong

    Read more

    The ads, which have not been publicly released, did not focus on the election or a particular candidate, Facebook said. Rather, the intent was to amplify divisive issues such as immigration, gun rights and race relations – all central to Donald Trump’s campaign.

    In a video statement earlier this month, Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, said: “I don’t want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy.

    That’s not what we stand for.”


    Twitter has until now been largely been silent on the subject. In a June blogpost, vice-president of public policy Colin Crowell wrote: “Twitter’s open and real-time nature is a powerful antidote to the spreading of all types of false information.


    “This is important because we cannot distinguish whether every single Tweet from every person is truthful or not. We, as a company, should not be the arbiter of truth.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/technolo...n-interference

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