Twitter ‘Deeply Disappointing’ on Russian Fake News Efforts, Senator Says

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Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee called Twitter’s presentation on the Russia-backed fake news campaign “deeply disappointing” in a statement to reporters on Thursday.

Representatives from Twitter met with the House and Senate intelligence committees on Tuesday to discuss Russia’s use of social media to meddle with the 2016 presidential election. The company said it “took action” against 201 accounts tied to a Russian troll farm — including 22 that were linked to Facebook’s recent fake news investigation.

“The notion that their work was basically derivative, based upon accounts that Facebook had identified, showed [an] enormous lack of understanding from the Twitter team of how serious this issue is, the threat it poses to democratic institutions, and again begs many more questions than they offered,” Warner said, according to CBS News.

“Of the roughly 450 accounts that Facebook recently shared as a part of their review, we concluded that 22 had corresponding accounts on Twitter,” Twitter said in a blog post about the meeting on Thursday, adding that many of the accounts had already been suspended.

Earlier this month, Facebook revealed nearly 500 accounts with Russian origins that spent upwards of $100,000 on fake ads before and after the 2016 election. Twitter has continued to be a go-to source for disinformation, with The New York Times reporting on Wednesday the platform “may have been used even more extensively than Facebook” in the Russian campaign.

“If there are ads that appear, pop up high on your Twitter newsfeed, Americans have the right to know if that’s being generated by interests from Americans or generated by interests from, by activities of foreign powers,” Warner said. “So again, [I’m] more than a little surprised, in light of all of the press interest in this subject over the last few week, how inadequate Twitter’s presentation was today.”

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