Twitter's Talk With Congress on Russian Trolls Went Poorly

'Frankly inadequate on almost every level'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2017 5:58 PM CDT
Twitter's Talk With Congress on Russian Trolls Went Poorly
Twitter's Carlos Monje, director of public policy and philanthropy, knocks on the door with Colin Crowell, head of global public policy, to enter a closed door meeting with the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Twitter presented to the House and Senate intelligence committees Thursday in their ongoing investigations into Russian election interference, the AP reports. It did not go great. Sen. Mark Warner says the presentation was "deeply disappointing" and "frankly inadequate on almost every level." The ranking Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee says the presentation "showed an enormous lack of understanding from the Twitter team of how serious this issue is, the threat it poses to democratic institutions." According to Recode, Twitter revealed it found 200 or so accounts it believes had ties to Russian trolls. It has since deleted those accounts, the Washington Post reports.

The problem, at least according to lawmakers, is that Twitter apparently only found those accounts by piggybacking on the work done by Facebook. Facebook had already reported 470 pages originating at the Internet Research Agency, a "Russia-connected troll farm." Those pages bought thousands of ads ahead of the 2016 election, many of which contained divisive messages on religion and race. Twitter says it found 22 accounts that matched those 470 Facebook pages and another 179 accounts tied to the first 22. "If it wasn’t for Facebook’s data, [Twitter] would have no idea these were even Russian accounts,” says a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Google, Facebook, and Twitter—which could face new regulations from Congress—are being called to publicly testify Nov. 1. (Read more Twitter stories.)

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