Facebook, Twitter execs asked to testify regarding fake news during election


The social media giant spoke about its investigation behind closed doors at a US Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

The biggest news in their disclosure was that Twitter, working alongside Facebook, identified more than 200 fake accounts, which it is has since suspended.

The company also disclosed in the briefings and its blog post that Russia Today (RT), a media outlet funded by the Russian government, "spent $274,100 in USA ads in 2016".

Twitter said it examined efforts by foreign agents to interfere with the election after Facebook indicated it found 450 accounts which appeared to have been used for this goal.

Twitter examined the roughly 450 accounts that Facebook identified as Russian Federation linked and concluded 22 had a corresponding accounts on Twitter. Twitter said, the RT accounts spent $274,100 to promote 1,823 ads aimed at followers of major media outlets and sought to promote RT's own coverage of trending news events. The company also pointed out that none of these accounts were registered advertisers on the site.

"Twitter deeply respects the integrity of the election process, which is a cornerstone for all democracies", the company said in the post. Twitter, for its part, said it supports "making political advertising more transparent to our users and the public". "Twitter is in dialogue with congressional committees with respect to investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 US election", Twitter said on Friday.

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Twitter, Facebook and Google have been asked to testify in public in October before the House Intelligence Committee and the before the Senate Intelligence Committee Nov. 1.

Twitter added that it unearthed an additional 179 "related or linked accounts" with ties to the fake Russian Facebook accounts.

They have specifically been looking at Twitter and Facebook and their roles in spreading misinformation and propaganda during the campaign. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, told reporters he was "disappointed" by the briefing Twitter provided.

Senator Mark Warner, whose panel is investigating alleged Russian interference in the election, said Twitter officials had not answered many questions about the Russian use of the platform and that it was still subject to foreign manipulation. Moscow denies any such activity, and Trump has denied any collusion.

After Twitter's closed-door meeting with Senate staff Thursday, Sen.