Politics Facebook, Twitter will testify at Senate hearing

23:06  04 october  2017
23:06  04 october  2017 Source:   thehill.com

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Facebook General Counsel Colin Strech, Twitter Acting General Counsel Sean Edgett and others testify at Senate hearing on Russian interference in the 2016

Facebook introduces new ad policies amid Russia probe© Provided by The Hill Facebook introduces new ad policies amid Russia probe Facebook and Twitter have agreed to testify at an upcoming Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Russian interference during the 2016 elections, the companies confirmed Wednesday.

Both companies have already briefed House and Senate Intelligence Committees on their findings regarding Russian actors using their platforms to influence the presidential election.

Google was also invited to testify but has not confirmed whether it will send a representative to the hearing, which is scheduled for Nov. 1.

The House Intelligence Committee's top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), says a Google briefing with his committee is "imminent," but has not shared a date. That committee plans to hold a hearing with the company in October but there is no set date.

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Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday said they are proactively working with lawmakers to cooperate in their investigations.

"As we noted in our blog post last week, we are cooperating with these investigations in Russian interference in the 2016 election," a Twitter spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

"Twitter deeply respects the integrity of the election process, and will continue to both work with the investigations and to share details of our findings with the public as we are able."

Facebook revealed last month that Russian linked groups spent $100,000 on election ads.

On Monday, the company turned over 3,000 advertisements purchased by the Internet Research Agency, a group tied to the Kremlin, to congressional investigators. The election-related ads were purchased in 2015 and 2016.

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The company is also taking steps to improve transparency about who purchases advertising.

But some lawmakers don't think Facebook and Twitter have done enough.

After Twitter briefed the Senate Intelligence Committee last week, the panel's top Democrat, Sen. Mark Warner (Va.) called the company's efforts "deeply disappointing."

"Their response was frankly inadequate on almost every level," he said.

On Monday, Schiff and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called for Facebook to make the 3,000 Russian ads available to the public. Facebook has not responded directly to that request.

Schiff and Warner said they have many questions for Twitter, Google and Facebook.

"How thorough has their investigation been?" Schiff said. "What more remains to be done? These are the questions we'll be posing at the open hearing."

This story was updated at 3 p.m.

Twitter turns over 'handles' of 201 Russia-linked accounts .
Twitter has handed over to Senate investigators the profile names, or "handles," of 201 accounts linked to Russian attempts at influencing the 2016 presidential election. The company has stepped up its efforts to cooperate with investigators after it was criticized for not taking congressional probes seriously enough.The handover occurred this week, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly about it.What remains unclear is whether posts associated with those accounts have been deleted from Twitter's servers.

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