House Intel panel to hold Russia probe hearing with tech firms

Keren Carrion

The House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday that it will hold an open hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 election, inviting technology firms to testify.

“Congress and the American people need to hear this important information directly from these companies,” said committee leaders Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.)

It’s still unclear what companies will be asked to testify at the hearing. Schiff has noted that he would like to see more details in regard to Russian actors purchasing ads and using Facebook to potentially influence American voters during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“We anticipate it will be necessary for the American people to hear directly from tech companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google, as well as other relevant experts,” a committee source with knowledge of the hearing told The Hill.

{mosads}The Senate Intelligence Committee sent invitations to tech companies today for its own hearing on the matter set for Nov. 1. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that the company had been invited to testify at the hearing. Twitter and Google were also invited according to sources with knowledge of the matter.

Congressional interest in foreign actors using U.S. social media platforms to influence the 2016 election flared up after Facebook revealed that Kremlin-linked groups purchased $100,000 in political ads during the 2016 campaign season.

Facebook is turning over the 3,000 Russian ads to lawmakers, however, Schiff and the Senate Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, Mark Warner (Va.), have said they’re interested in learning about more than just the ads from social media companies. The two believe that Congressional hearings will help accomplish this.

Twitter is set to brief Senate staff over its findings of Russian election activity on its platform this week.

Google has said it has not found any evidence that its advertising tools were manipulated by foreign actors seeking to influence the election.

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