As the probe into Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election intensifies, Twitter announced that it has deleted over 200 fake Russian accounts and identified Russia Today of buying bought ads targeted at American users’ accounts. In a closed-door meeting late Thursday, Colin Crowell, Twitter’s Vice President for Public Policy, met with staff from Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to discuss the issue. “This is an ongoing process and we will continue to collaborate with investigators. Twitter is in dialogue with congressional committees with respect to investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 US election,” the micro-blogging platform said in a blog post.
Twitter also shared with committee staff ads that three Russia Today (RT) accounts targeted to the US market in 2016. “Based on our findings thus far, RT spent $274,100 in US ads in 2016. In that year, the three RT accounts promoted 1,823 tweets that definitely or potentially targeted the US market,” Twitter said. These campaigns were directed at followers of mainstream media and primarily promoted RT Tweets regarding news stories.
“Due to the nature of these inquiries, we may not always be able to publicly share what we discuss with investigators. “We know there is a huge appetite for more transparency into how Twitter fights bots and manipulative networks,” the post said. According to Twitter, Russia and other post-Soviet states have been a primary source of automated and spammy content on Twitter for many years.
“Content that violates our rules with respect to automated accounts and spam can have a highly negative effect on user experience, and we have long taken substantial action to stem that flow,” it added. Facebook is also facing intense fake news scrutiny after disclosing the details about the presence of Russian political ads worth $100,000 on its platform during the presidential election.
After an extensive legal and policy review, the social media giant announced that it would share 3,000 Russian ads with Congressional investigators. Facebook and Google have also been summoned to testify before the US Senate Intelligence Committee regarding Russia meddling into US election.