30 September, 2017
Twitter said on Thursday it had suspended about 200 Russian-linked accounts as it probes online efforts to meddle with the 2016 U.S. election, but an influential Democratic senator slammed its steps as insufficient.
It found at least 22 Twitter accounts that matched, with links to 179 others.
"Blacktivist" fake social media accounts have been tied to the Russian government, which used the handle on Facebook and Twitter in an attempt to raise racial tensions during the US elections, CNN reported on Thursday, citing exclusive sources.
Attempts by Russia-linked social media accounts to influence events in the USA apparently weren't limited to last year's U.S. election.
Although Twitter's disclosures in briefings to USA congressional staff and a public blog post were its most detailed to date on the issue, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee called the company's statements "deeply disappointing". These tweets were "definitely or potentially targeted the USA market", said company in a statement.
"Frankly I don't think they understand how serious this problem is", Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, tweeted.
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Warner in remarks to reporters called Twitter's statements "deeply disappointing" and "inadequate on nearly every level". Facebook said earlier this month it discovered about $100,000 worth of ads from fake accounts linked to Russian Federation that ran during the 2016 USA presidential election.
A Senate aide said executives from the three firms had been asked by the Senate Intelligence Committee to appear at a public hearing on November 1.
The firm outlined accounts affiliated with Russia Today promoted more than 1,800 tweets during the period.
After an extensive legal and policy review, the social media giant announced that it would share 3,000 Russian ads with Congressional investigators.
For reasons that were unclear, Twitter's investigation was largely built around Facebook's recent discovery that advertisers with possible ties to the Kremlin had spent $100,000 in ads on its platform.
These findings among others were handed over to the USA government and Twitter said, "This is an ongoing process and we will continue to collaborate with investigators".
In the coming months, Twitter said it would make changes to how it responds to "spammy or suspicious activity".