Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

Google, Facebook, Twitter and Russian Federation: A Timeline on the '16 Election

A new way to safeguard America against threats to our elections Getty Images
Lori Graves | 02 November, 2017, 00:37

Colin Stretch, Facebook's general counsel, also revealed at the Senate Intelligence Committee that the 126 million of its US users exposed to content from Russian accounts did not include Instagram - where an "additional 16 million people" viewed such content since October 2016.

Lawmakers came down hard Wednesday on executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google for failing to stop peddlers of Russian propaganda from buying ads, sowing social unrest and spreading fake news on their sites.

Silicon Valley giants faced aggressive grillings by the Senate and House Intelligence Committees Wednesday over the role their platforms have inadvertently played in Russia's meddling in US politics. "You have a huge problem on your hands".

You've created these platforms.

Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican who chairs the committee, went so far as to suggest Congress could supply the companies with "anti-trust waivers" to allow them to collaborate in confronting foreign meddling.

That comes after Zuckerberg opened wrote in today's earnings release that "We're serious about preventing abuse on our platforms. And you have to be the ones who do something about it - or we will", Sen.

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However, they will not endorse the Honest Ads Act.

Colin Stretch, Facebook's general counsel; Kent Walker, Google's general counsel; and Sean Edgett, Twitter's general counsel will all offer testimony and answer questions. Facebook added close to 2,500 people this quarter. Each general counsel also struggled to name an executive at their company who is specifically tasked with overseeing the threat.

Politicians from both United States parties took tech company officials to task in a hearing for failing to better identify, defuse and investigate Russia's campaign to manipulate voters over social media.

Stretch also disclosed that reach of Russian-backed political content on its platforms was greater than previously stated. That's on top of 3,000 content reviewers Facebook said it would hire to police violent videos. "We would appreciate seeing the top people who are actually making the decisions".

One ad promoted a "Support Hillary - Save American Muslims" event that was set for outside the White House on July 9, 2016. Experts have said that the Russians' goals included promoting discord in the US and inciting violence.

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