Facebook, Google, Twitter execs to testify about Russian misinformation campaigns
Senior legal representatives of three of America’s biggest tech firms will testify about Russian-led online disinformation campaigns at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, Oct. 31.
The hearing will revolve around discussing “ways to combat and reduce the amount of Russian propaganda and extremist content online,” the subcommittee said in a statement.
Facebook and Twitter will be represented by legal chiefs Colin Stretch and Sean Edgett respectively; they will be joined by Richard Salgado, Google‘s director for law enforcement and information security matters.
The subcommittee will then hear from a second panel comprising experts on cybersecurity and terrorism.
On Friday, Facebook said that it would take steps to make advertising more transparent after it was revealed that Russian operatives bought ads to stoke racial tensions in a bid to influence voting patterns in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Buyers of political ads will henceforth be required to verify their identity, while Facebook users will be able to view all the ads being run by a particular page, Facebook’s vice-president of ads, Rob Goldman, revealed in a blog post.
“When it comes to advertising on Facebook, people should be able to tell who the advertiser is and see the ads they’re running, especially for political ads,” Goldman wrote.
WATCH: Facebook to roll out new standards in political advertising
Facebook also announced recently that its Canadian division would run an “election integrity initiative” to promote authentic dialogue and civic engagement in the run-up to the 2019 Canadian federal election.
Meanwhile, Twitter revealed that it would take down advertising from all accounts owned by Russian government-linked media outlets Russia Today and Sputnik after the two were implicated in Russian election meddling efforts by the U.S. intelligence community.
“We did not come to this decision lightly, and are taking this step now as part of our ongoing commitment to help protect the integrity of the user experience on Twitter,” Twitter’s public policy team said in a statement Thursday.
Twitter added that it would donate revenues from Russia Today and Sputnik ads towards supporting research projects exploring Twitter’s role in civic engagement and political campaigning.
The micro-blogging site was previously reported to have handed over 201 handles of Russian-linked accounts to Senate investigators.
Earlier this month, the Washington Post reported that Google unearthed evidence that Russian operatives spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads on Google platforms including Gmail and YouTube.
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