Google briefed Congress ahead of hearings on Russian influence: report

Google briefed Congress ahead of hearings on Russian influence: report
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Google has spoken to investigators on the House and Senate Intelligence committees in recent weeks as part of the panels' probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

The closed-door meetings come ahead of two hearings on Nov. 1, in which both intelligence panels will speak with representatives from Facebook, Twitter and Google about Russian efforts to leverage the platforms as part of its plan to disrupt and influence the presidential race.

The committees' Russia investigations have recently homed in on Russia's use of social media to spread misinformation, false news stories and politically divisive advertisements.

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Facebook revealed to congressional investigators last month that Russia-linked accounts had paid about $100,000 to place thousands of advertisements exploiting racial, religious and political divisions in the U.S.

Twitter also revealed to lawmakers last month the names of 201 Russia-tied accounts on its platform.

Google, however, has not publicly confirmed whether Russian actors used the company's platforms to place ads online. It was not clear if the internet giant turned over any information in its talks with the Intelligence committees, according to the AP. 

Both committees began conducting wider counterintelligence investigations into Russian efforts to interfere in the presidential campaign earlier this year, after the U.S. intelligence community revealed the existence of a Kremlin-backed influence campaign designed to disrupt and sway the 2016 election.

The committees are also seeking to determine whether Russia acted alone in its interference efforts, or if the operations were guided by a source more familiar with the U.S. political climate.