Twitter officials to testify amid Russia probe

Twitter officials to testify amid Russia probe
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Representatives from Twitter will meet with staff from the Senate Intelligence Committee next week in connection with the panel's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The social media company says that it will address fake bot accounts as well as the dissemination of hoax stories and false news on its platform with committee staffers.

“We are cooperating with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in its inquiry into the 2016 election and will meet with committee staff next week,” a Twitter spokesperson told The Hill on Thursday. “Twitter deeply respects the integrity of the election process, a cornerstone of all democracies, and will continue to strengthen our platform against bots and other forms of manipulation that violate our Terms of Service.”

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Senate investigators are expanding their probe into Russia's use of social media to influence Americans during the presidential campaign.

The development comes after Facebook revealed at the beginning of September that Russians with links to the Kremlin purchased $100,000 in political ads during the 2016 elections.

A report suggests that pro-Russian groups used Facebook to organize rallies to support President Trump's campaign in Florida and other states. One of those groups, March With Trump, had its Twitter account taken down last month.

Former Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton2016 pollsters erred by not weighing education on state level, says political analyst Could President Trump's talk of a 'red wave' cause his supporters to stay home in midterms? Dem group targets Trump in M voter registration campaign: report MORE told MSNBC last week that social media played a role in pushing Trump past her in the 2016 election, and she faulted the companies for not doing more to stop Russian influence.

"We now know that they were sowing discord during the election with phony groups on Facebook," Clinton told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. "They were running anti-immigrant, anti-me, anti-Hillary Clinton demonstrations. They were putting out the fake news and negative stories untrue to really divide people."

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerKey House Dem's objections stall intel bill as deadline looms Russia docs order sets Trump on collision with intel community Hillicon Valley: North Korean IT firm hit with sanctions | Zuckerberg says Facebook better prepared for midterms | Big win for privacy advocates in Europe | Bezos launches B fund to help children, homeless MORE (D-Va.), the top Democrat on the committee, said this week that Twitter would privately brief the committee and questioned whether Facebook was being forthcoming with its own testimony.

“I question whether Facebook has put near the resources they need into getting us all the facts,” Warner told reporters this week.

The Virginia Democrat added at the time that the tech companies likely don't know the extent to which Russian groups used their platforms to interfere in the presidential election.

“They had a fairly narrow search,” Warner said last Friday. “They’ve not looked at things like Moldova,” he added. “They’ve not looked at other countries where there’s lots of indication of trolls being used.”

— Ali Breland contributed to this report, which was updated at 11:21 a.m.