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Tech Titans Admit to New Levels of Russian Election Meddling

October 31, 2017

Today, Facebook, Google, and Twitter come under scrutiny from Congress. They're being hauled in front of a Senate judiciary subcommittee to explain the scale of Russian manipulation of their social networks during the 2016 presidential race.

And—surprise!—we're expecting to hear that things are worse than previously reported. How bad? Well, Recode reports that:

  • Facebook will admit that 126 million Americans saw Russian ads (10 million was the previous figure the company gave)
  • Twitter will point to 2,752 Russia-linked accounts (previously 200)
  • Google will explain that 1,108 propaganda clips made it to YouTube (its first figures on the problem)

As Bloomberg notes, we can expect the firms to use the opportunity to paint themselves as problem solvers seeking a solution. For instance, Colin Stretch, Facebook's general counsel, is expected to say that "the foreign interference we saw is reprehensible and outrageous and opened a new battleground for our company, our industry, and our society," adding that the firm is "determined to prevent it from happening again."

But many lawmakers on Capitol Hill will be looking for answers rather than bluster. None more so than Senator Mark Warner, who has already torn strips off Twitter for a "frankly inadequate" explanation of Russian meddling on its network. In other words: grab the popcorn, because today's showdown could be a doozy.

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