Twitter, Facebook to alert users about Russian propaganda content

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Twitter, Facebook to alert users about Russian propaganda content

Twitter has told a US Senate committee that the micro-blogging platform is working towards alerting its users who may have seen Russia-linked advertisements during the 2016 US presidential election.

Appearing before the US Commerce, Science and Technology Committee late on Wednesday, Carlos Monje, Twitter’s Director of US Public Policy, said Twitter would ‘inform individually’ everyone who saw tweets from accounts linked to Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA), online news portal Siliconbeat reported.

Monje, along with officials from Facebook and Google-owned YouTube, testified before the committee about how Twitter is combating terror-related content on its platform.

Facebook representatives told Senator Richard Blumenthal, District of Connecticut, that it has already started rolling out a tool that lets users check if they liked or followed a Facebook page or Instagram account created by the IRA.

“The tool, though, doesn’t tell users, if Russian-linked content appeared on their News Feed during the election,” the report added.

Blumenthal was pleased with Facebook’s response but unhappy with Google.

“I just want to be blunt. I am disappointed by Google’s written response. It essentially blew off my concerns by saying the nature of the platform made it difficult to know who has viewed its content,” he was quoted as saying.

The tech executives also told the lawmakers how they have been using a mix of artificial intelligence (AI) and employees to flag extremist content.

In September last year, Twitter announced that it deleted over 200 fake Russian accounts and identified Russia Today of buying bought ads targeted at American users’ accounts.

In a closed-door meeting, Colin Crowell, Twitter’s Vice President for Public Policy, met with staff from Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to discuss the issue.