Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia said Thursday that he anticipates Twitter will soon brief congressional investigators on Russian activity on its platform, according to The Wall Street Journal.
As the leading Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Warner has raised concerns for months that Russia tried to influence the election by promulgating “fake news.”
Social media platforms like Twitter are often used for people to consume as many informational tidbits as possible in a short period of time. Users accompany their 140-character-or-less tweets with a link to a news story, but other users and observers often read just the brief caption and treat it as a sufficient morsel of news, misleading people in the process. Completely false stories also make their way to the platform.
Many credited or blamed Trump winning the presidency to the apparent rise of “fake news,” but economists at Stanford and New York University conducted a study that showed otherwise. (RELATED: BuzzFeed’s Infamous Trump Dossier Is Facebook’s Most Read News Story In Past Year)
Nevertheless, Warner and the Senate panel want to know if Russia played a part in the dissemination of misleading or fraudulent news stories.
“The American people deserve to know both the content and the source of information that is trying to be used to affect their votes,” Warner said, according to TheWSJ, which added that he’s been corresponding with Twitter on cooperation. “I think there’s a lot more questions to be asked.”
If Twitter did apprise Congress with any improper Russian involvement it was able to detect on its platform, it would follow in the footsteps of a social media competitor.
Facebook admitted to congressional investigators Wednesday that it sold political ads to a Russian firm during the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.
Most of the advertisements sold did not focus on then-Republican nominee Donald Trump or then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and the ad sales merely amounted to $100,000. The majority of the ads touched on highly contentious social issues, like race, gun rights, gay rights, and immigration. As Axios reporter Sara Fischer notes, that is a very small amount, especially in a two-year time span and relative to the larger, massive political advertisement ecosystem. The ad buy likely did very little to sway many people’s opinions on who to vote for.
But the prospect of Russian companies that may have connections to the Kremlin trying to cultivate an even further schismatic political landscape in America is another aspect that worries lawmakers who long feared Russia’s influence on the U.S. presidential election.
Twitter did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment by the time of publication.
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