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Russia election probe in Congress turns to Twitter


Executives from Twitter are set to appear before the House and Senate intelligence committees on Thursday to answer questions about Russian election meddling.

The Senate’s intelligence committee is expected to ask whether disinformation spread by Russian Twitter accounts — meant to disparage Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign — entered legitimate Twitter news stories.

In a closed meeting, the panel may also ask if Twitter took any steps to curtail propaganda, and whether automated Twitter accounts were used to improve the Google rankings of false news items, Politico reported Thursday.

Facebook executives were questioned Wednesday over that social media platform’s role in the campaign.

Facebook is preparing to hand over 3,000 advertisements related to Russian targeting of voters to special counsel Robert Mueller’s office.

Facebook, Twitter and Google were invited to open hearings before Congress in November on the investigation of Russia’s role in the election.

An unidentified former senior U.S. intelligence officer told Politico that Russian use of Twitter was similar to methods identified by intelligence agencies in which Russian hackers interfered with the election.

A Twitter representative said the company was complying with congressional investigators.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the House committee’s ranking Democrat, said he would like to know exactly what the company has done to uncover Russian activity.

On Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg replied to President Donald Trump’s suggestion that Facebook “was always anti-Trump.”

“Trump says Facebook is against him. Liberals say we helped Trump. Both sides are upset about ideas and content they don’t like. That’s what running a platform for all ideas looks like,” Zuckerberg said.