Twitter to Meet With Senate Intelligence Committee on Russian Fake News

Social media giant will discuss Russian influence on 2016 next Wednesday

Last Updated: September 21, 2017 @ 9:34 AM

Twitter is heading to Washington.

Reps for the social media company will meet with the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, the company told TheWrap. The meeting is likely to take place next Wednesday, Sept. 27.

“Twitter engages with governments around the world on public policy issues of importance and of interest to policymakers,” said a Twitter spokesperson to TheWrap. “We are cooperating with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in its inquiry into the 2016 election and will meet with committee staff next week. 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.”

Twitter declined to share who will represent the company at the meeting, along with how many accounts it had suspended for spreading false information during the election cycle.

The meeting comes at a time when social media giants have been increasingly scrutinized for their role in allowing fake news to spread. Facebook has come under fire recently after disclosing that Russian-tied accounts bought $150,000 worth of ads between June 2015 and May 2017. The company spotted “about 470 inauthentic accounts and Pages in violation of our policies,” using ads to touch on hot-button issues like immigration and gun control. Facebook has since shared information on Russian ad purchases with special counsel Robert Mueller.

Kremlin-tied accounts also exploited Twitter to spread fake news, according to cybersecurity firm FireEye. The firm shared with the New York Times that “hundreds or thousands of fake accounts” were used to spread disinformation on Hillary Clinton; the hashtag #WarAgainstDemocrats was shared more than 1,700 times by Twitter bots on Election Day.

Congressmen have been calling for companies like Facebook and Twitter to share more information on Russian interference. In an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” last Sunday, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said he was “distressed that it has taken us this long to be informed that the Russians had paid for at least $100,000 of ads designed to try to influence our electoral process.” Senator Mark Warner, vice-chair for the Intelligence Committee, said on CNN on Wednesday they don’t have information on if Americans helped with the spreading of Russian fake news. “We don’t have the answer to that yet,” said Warner. “That’s one of the reasons why we want to hear from Facebook. We’re going to hear from Twitter next week.”

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