Sen. Mark Warner: Twitter’s Response on Russian Fake News ‘Disappointing on Every Level’
Disappointing on every level. With all the discussion about Facebook and fake news, Twitter has been largely overlooked-until now. Now they’re getting some attention they probably could do without.
“Twitter executives flocked to Capitol Hill on Thursday to meet with congressional investigators in a bid to address mounting concerns about how interference from Russian state agents on the platform may have affected the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. In recent weeks, much of the focus of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has shifted to social media, with Mark Zuckerberg now in the hot seat for disclosing that Facebook sold some 3,000 ads between 2015 and 2017 to a pro-Kremlin troll farm. In recent days, that focus has seemingly shifted to Twitter and C.E.O. Jack Dorsey, particularly after a report that foreign actors ran Twitter accounts posing as Americans and used Twitter bots to spread news stories about leaked e-mails from Democratic operatives. After its meeting with lawmakers on Thursday, Twitter published a blog post noting that it had suspended 201 Twitter accounts related to Russian-linked sources that had also posted ads on Facebook. “Neither the original accounts shared by Facebook, nor the additional related accounts we identified, were registered as advertisers on Twitter,” the company wrote. “However, we continue to investigate these issues, and will take action on anything that violates our Terms of Service.”
However, despite this talk, Mark Warner dismisses Twitter’s actions to this point as largely per-functionary:
— Mark Follman (@markfollman) September 28, 2017
For the most part, Twitter’s action until now is seen as derivative of what Facebook already does. They offer up Russian bot accounts that also bought ads on Facebook, but there’s nothing new:
“The contrite mea culpa, however, was not enough to placate the furor of some congressional investigators. Virginia Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence Committee, told reporters that Twitter’s presentation had been “deeply disappointing,” and that the company needs to answer more questions. “Their response was frankly inadequate on almost every level,” Warner said. “I’m more than a bit surprised that anyone from the Twitter team would think that the presentation they made to the Senate staff today even began to answer the kind of questions we’d asked. So there is a lot more work they need to do.” Warner’s cardinal beef was that Twitter performed a limited search of its records based on information that Facebook had already revealed during its investigation. “The notion that their work was basically derivative, based upon accounts that Facebook had identified, showed an enormous lack of understanding from the Twitter team of how serious this issue is, the threat it poses to democratic institutions, and again, begs many more questions than they ,” he continued.
“The House Intelligence Committee is hoping to hold its own hearing next month. Adam Schiff, the panel’s top Democratic lawmaker, has urged Twitter to take the probe more seriously, and to determine more precisely the extent to which Russian state actors may have interfered on its platform during the election. “At this early stage in their internal review, Twitter has identified and taken remedial steps against accounts linked to Russian government actors,” Schiff said. “Much of the information that Twitter used to identify Russian-linked accounts, however, was derived from Facebook’s own analysis, and it is clear that Twitter has significant forensic work to do to understand the depth and breadth of Russian activity during the campaign.”
The big news is that there will be a public Senate Intelligence hearing in November for Twitter, Facebook, and Google.
In the last post, I pointed out that one thing Twitter certainly should do is turn over conversations between Guccifer 2.0/Julian Assange and GOP operatives.
Twitter must turn over all convos between Guccifer 2/Assange & GOP operatives https://t.co/DZoJ9zUr19
— mike sax (@mikesaxny2) September 29, 2017
And investigators should follow Julian Assange’s Twitter feed through to this very day. This is what Assange-an allegedly nonpolitical transparency advocate RTed this morning:
Emails show Facebook’s top officials may have colluded with campaign https://t.co/hLolvaFdN2
— Julian Assange 🔹 (@JulianAssange) September 29, 2017
What a shock-this post is by none other than RT. Irony upon irony-the emails were hacked by Russia and released by Assange in the first place.
Clint Watts, a former FBI agent and current consultant:
Some thoughts Twitter – Russia influence 1- they don’t know who is on their platform, Russia or otherwise https://t.co/ClJnVDfQA4
— Clint Watts (@selectedwisdom) September 28, 2017
P.S. Hello! I’m Mike Sax Democratic candidate for NY2. If you want to ride the Impeachment Train all the way to Washington DC in 2019 then please vote for me, Mike Sax NY2.
And-get it on the t shirt.
Think of the shirt as a one time investment in restoring legitimacy to this country.
And please donate.