Twitter to Testify Before Senate in Russia Probe

Twitter to Testify Before Senate in Russia Probe

The social media company will discuss its role in alleged interference by Russia in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

By Katelyn Newman , Digital Producer, Staff Writer |Sept. 28, 2017, at 8:43 a.m.

This Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016, photo shows a sign at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco. (AP/Jeff Chiu)

A sign hangs at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

Twitter is expected to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday in connection with its role as an online platform for Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The closed-door briefing with the social media company’s executives will focus on automated Twitter accounts – known as “bots” – and Twitter’s responsibility in curbing disinformation from spreading on its site and perpetuating fake news, Quartz reports. About 19 percent of all election-based tweets during a six-week period from September to October 2016 were traced back to an estimated 400,000 bots, according to a University of Southern California Information Sciences Institute study.

“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,” a Twitter spokesperson told Quartz.

Russia enlisted social media trolls “as part of its influence efforts to denigrate Secretary Clinton,” according to the director of national intelligence’s report on Russian election interference, issued Jan. 6.

Twitter’s appearance before Congress comes a week after its social media rival Facebook agreed to hand over more than 3,000 ads linked to Russia that were purchased during the election.

While Thursday’s meeting is closed to the public, a Senate aide told Reuters that the Senate Intelligence Committee invited executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google to appear at a public hearing Nov. 1.