US Social Media Giants Pledge to Combat Foreign Disinformation

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., speaks next to a poster depicting an online ad that attempted to suppress votes as Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch, Twitter acting general counsel Sean Edgett and Google information security director Richard Salgado testify before a Senate subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 31, 2017, on more signs from tech companies of Russian election activity.
Attorneys for Twitter, Facebook and Google on Tuesday told U.S. lawmakers that Russian entities used their platforms to sow discord and disinformation during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, but downplayed the magnitude of those efforts.

"Foreign actors used fake accounts to place ads in Facebook and Instagram that reached millions of Americans over a two-year period," Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch said, testifying before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee. "Many of these ads and posts are inflammatory. Some are downright offensive."
Sean Edgett, Twitter's acting general counsel, said the company studied all tweets posted from Sept. 1 to Nov. 15, 2016, and found that election-related content posted by automated Russian troll accounts "was comparatively small." He said the Russian troll accounts made up "around 1/100th of a percent of total Twitter accounts" during the time studied.

"Twitter believes that any activity of that kind — regardless of magnitude — is unacceptable and we agree we must do better to prevent it," he said.
Twitter has taken action against the suspected Russian trolls, suspending 2,752 accounts and implementing new dedicated teams "to enhance the quality of the information our users see," Edgett said.
Facebook, meanwhile, said it would hire more people to vet and, when necessary, remove content, and verify and publish the identities of election advertisers.

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