Senate Intel Chairman: Russia’s Social Media Activity Did Not Favor Either Political Party

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter

The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Wednesday that Russia’s activities on social media were “indiscriminate” and did not favor either side of the political spectrum.

“We have not come to any determination on collusion or Russia’s preferences. If we use solely the social media advertising that we’ve seen, there is no way that you can look at that and say that that was to help the right side of the ideological chart and not the left, or vice versa,” North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr said during a press conference on Tuesday.

Burr and committee vice chairman Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, gave a briefing about the status of the panel’s investigation into Russian interference in the presidential campaign.

The committee, which is one of three congressional panels investigating Russia’s activities, has recently focused on the Russian government’s use of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to spread propaganda.

The social media companies have recently met with the committee and turned over information about ad purchases made by Russia-linked operatives, including RT and Sputnik, two news outlets controlled by the Kremlin.

Reports published over the past couple of weeks have revealed that the operatives purchased ads about polarizing political issues in the U.S. The activities appeared to have been intended to create division on racially-tinged issues, such as Black Lives Matter and the NFL protests over the playing of the national anthem.

On Twitter, Russia-linked accounts advocated for both sides of the national anthem protests. Some of the accounts supported players’ kneeling, while others attempted to rile up fans opposed to the demonstrations.

Burr said Wednesday that the committee has not seen any evidence that the activities favored either Republicans or Democrats.

“They were indiscriminate,” Burr said of the ads and other social media activity.

“It seems that the overall theme of the Russian involvement in the U.S. elections was to create chaos at every level.”


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