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Lawmakers slam Twitter for its Russia election interference report

30 September, 2017, 15:46 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg rejected US President Donald Trump's assertion the social network was against him

Twitter officials on Thursday briefed US congressional investigators probing how Russian-backed internet trolls, bots and targeted ads may have been used on the microblogging site to influence last year's election.

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.

Facebook wasn't the only social network to be hijacked by Russian operatives, as Twitter has found roughly 200 accounts tied to the same Russian sources that bought ads on Facebook to manipulate and undermine the United States 2016 presidential elections.

In its blog post, Twitter said it has been working on detecting and shutting down spam bots for years, and has many systems in place to do so: "On average, our automated systems catch more than 3.2 million suspicious accounts globally per week", the company said.

The ads, which have not been publicly released, did not focus on the election or a particular candidate, Facebook said.

US President Donald Trump tweeted his criticism of Facebook labelling the social network as
REUTERS US President Donald Trump tweeted his criticism of Facebook labelling the social network as"anti-Trump

Together, those three accounts promoted 1,823 tweets in 2016 "that definitely or potentially targeted the US market", Twitter said.

Warner in remarks to reporters called Twitter's statements "deeply disappointing" and "inadequate on nearly every level". "The notion that their work was basically derivative, based upon accounts that Facebook had identified, showed [an] enormous lack of understanding from the Twitter team of how serious this issue is, the threat it poses to democratic institutions, and again begs many more questions than they offered".

Technology companies including Twitter, Facebook and Google were asked by intelligence committees earlier this week to testify at a public hearing on November 1 about alleged Russian interference.

Twitter scanned its own database to see if it had accounts that matched. Twitter said it "took action on the ones we found in violation of our rules". "Twitter deeply respects the integrity of the election process, a cornerstone of all democracies, and will continue to strengthen our platform against bots and other forms of manipulation that violate our Terms of Service". The Facebook account had generated 360,000 likes, which was more than the verified Black Lives Matter account on Facebook, which has a little more than 310,000, CNN said. "One congressional investigator has said that the Facebook accounts from the International Research Agency are likely just the 'tip of the iceberg, ' " according to a congressional aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, to The Washington Post.




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