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Russian Manipulation Of US Elections: Facebook, Twitter And Google Asked To Testify

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| September 28 , 2017 , 15:31 IST

Furthering the investigation into alleged Russian meddling into the 2016 US presidential elections, the US Senate Intelligence Committee has called for top internet giants Google, Facebook and Twitter to testify about Russian interference in the elections.

The tech giants are expected to appear in an open hearing on November 1 as increasing evidence indicates that they covertly manipulated information online to influence the public to vote for Donald Trump.

House Intelligence Committee Representatives Mike Conaway and Adam Schiff leading the Russia probe announced on Wednesday that they had called for representatives of the firms themselves to testify on the issue of Russian manipulation.

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"Congress and the American people need to hear this important information directly from these companies," they said.

Recently, Facebook revealed that apparent Russia-linked buyers spent $100,000 to place around 3,000 advertisements on its pages ahead of the elections that appeared to be aimed at influencing the public. Facebook turned over all the details of the ads to the investigators.

"The vast majority of ads run by these accounts didn't specifically reference the US presidential election, voting or a particular candidate," Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos said earlier this month.

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"Rather, the ads and accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum -- touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights," Stamos said.

Meanwhile, Google said that it was not involved in the alleged Russian campaign to influence the US elections, but as per Buzzfeed, Google's automated ad-targeting system may have had a role in affecting the views of the public.

Twitter, on the other hand, has shown to have multiple easily faked accounts and news items that allowed influencing of the public by alleged Russian operatives.