Clinton: Facebook, Twitter must do more to prevent ‘cyberwarfare’

Greg Nash

Hillary Clinton on Friday night criticized Facebook and Twitter for abetting Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election and called for a “new doctrine” on U.S. cybersecurity.

“This is a new kind of Cold War — and it is just getting started,” Clinton said in a speech at Stanford University, according to The Mercury News.

She said social media platforms are being used for “cyberwarfare” and need to do more to prevent use by malicious actors.


“It’s time for Twitter to stop dragging its heels and live up to fact that its platform is being used as a tool for cyberwarfare,” said the former secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee.

Facebook, Twitter and Google are under increasing scrutiny for their potential use during 2016 by Russians seeking to influence the presidential election.

Twitter briefed staff from both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees at the end of September on how Russian trolls and bots may have used the platform to influence the election, but the top Democrat on the Senate committee said their response was “inadequate.”

“There is a lot more work they have to do,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said.

Facebook acknowledged last month that Kremlin-linked Russians purchased about 3,000 political ads that were seen by 10 million users on their site during the election. Some ads were also seen on their image-sharing site Instagram, the social media giant revealed this week.

The ads have not been released publicly, but apparently attempted to reach a variety of issue-based voters ranging from gun-rights supporters to LGBT-rights activists.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has promised to apply a “higher standard of transparency” to the company’s advertising tools, and Facebook released the ads to congressional and federal investigators looking into Russian influence during the election.

The intelligence community has concluded that Russia attempted to influence the 2016 presidential vote, and Clinton charges that Russia sought to swing the vote against her.

“We learned just this week some of the Facebook ads specifically targeted Michigan and Wisconsin,” Clinton said at Stanford, according to the NBC Bay Area affiliate. “Two states that decided the election with razor-thin margins which suggest the Russian strategy was more sophisticated than we knew.”

Facebook is “the largest news platform in the world, and with that awesome responsibility they must accept accountability,” she continued.

Clinton also argued that “a cyberattack on our vital infrastructure [should] be treated as an act of war.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee expects to hear testimony on the matter from Facebook and Twitter, and potentially Google, on Nov. 1.

Clinton spoke Friday night at the Stanford Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. She is on a media tour for her new book “What Happened,” about the 2016 presidential election.

Tags Facebook Hillary Clinton Mark Warner Twitter

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