Twitter Found 201 Accounts Linked to Russian Agents Who Bought Facebook Ads

Laura Christensen
September 30, 2017

The Senate Intelligence Committee has summoned Facebook, Google, and Twitter to testify at a public hearing November 1 about Russia's use of social media to influence U.S. elections. "All of those identified accounts had already been or immediately were suspended from Twitter for breaking our rules, most for violating our prohibitions against spam", the company said in a blog post on Friday.

In addition, the team said it found another 179 related or linked accounts - none of which were registered as advertisers on Twitter.

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.

Committee Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, has said he wants a full accounting from Facebook, which disclosed in September that Russians appeared to have bought about $100,000 in election-related ads past year.

The adverts appear to be aimed at sowing political unrest and manipulate USA voters during the presidential election.

Twitter has not made details about the accounts public. In that year, the @RT_com, @RT_America, and @ActualidadRT accounts promoted 1,823 Tweets that definitely or potentially targeted the US market.

Twitter, Facebook and Google haven't yet said whether they will accept the invitations to testify publicly before both intelligence committees, according to ABC News.

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Warner in remarks to reporters called Twitter's statements "deeply disappointing" and "inadequate on nearly every level".

On Wednesday, the network reported that the Facebook and Twitter pages operating under the name "Blacktivist" were linked to the Russian government to further its efforts to stoke racial tensions in the USA during election season.

Meanwhile, Google said that it was not involved in the alleged Russian campaign to influence the United States elections, but as per Buzzfeed, Google's automated ad-targeting system may have had a role in affecting the views of the public.

Users, lawmakers and technology analysts have long criticised Twitter as too lax in policing fake or abusive accounts.

Burr told reporters Tuesday that the use of Facebook and other social media platforms by Russian-linked accounts appears to be about creating chaos on both ends of the political spectrum, not necessarily collusion between the Trump camp and Russian officials.

Twitter executives briefed the intelligence committees in the U.S. Congress on September 28 about the findings. "So there's a lot more work they have to do".

Twitter said that in the coming weeks and months it plans to roll out changes to the way it detects "spammy or suspicious activity" and will introduce new enforcement procedures. 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.

Other reports by My Hot News

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