Twitter says it has found 201 Russia-linked accounts

The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked top tech companies such as Twitter to testify about Russian interference in United States politics.

Twitter said RT spent US$274,000 (S$372,000) previous year on Twitter ads that may have been used to try to influence the USA election.

While skeptics say 3,000 Facebook ads were unlikely to have affected the election, new information about the Twitter "bots" and trolls may have had more impact on election results.

"Twitter deeply respects the integrity of the election process, which is a cornerstone for all democracies", the company said in the post.

Unlike Facebook, Twitter went into these hearings and voluntarily shared a roundup of three Russia Today news channel accounts that targeted the USA market with ads during the 2016 election.

Twitter also shared the ads purchased by the news site Russia Today, which is linked to the Russian government.

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

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Fake accounts and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of social media ads have been linked to a wider effort among the Russian government to sow divisions among Americans, CNN reported. According to Warner, Twitter officials didn't answer many questions about Russian use of its platform.

"In addition, from those accounts, we found an additional 179 related or linked accounts, and took action on the ones we found in violation of our rules", the post added.

In early September, Facebook announced it had found accounts linked to Russian Federation had spent $100,000 in targeted political advertising during the 2016 campaign. Twitter's blog has come at a time when there's been an intense scrutiny on social media sites on how "malicious bots and misinformation networks on Twitter may have been used in the context of the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections".

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

Twitter did not respond when asked about the briefings.

News of the hearings comes among growing concern over the influence of Russian-operated fake accounts on social networks. Moscow denies any such activity, and Trump has denied any collusion.


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