Twitter on Thursday told a United States Senate Committee that a Russian state-funded media organisation had placed over 1,800 advertisements in 2016 in the run-up to the presidential election. The Russia Today, now known as RT, spent at least $274,100 (approximately Rs 1.8 crore) in ads targeted at the US audience in 2016, Twitter said.
Twitter, along with Facebook and Google, was asked to testify before the US Senate Intelligence Committee in the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the US election. The ads, believed to have interfered in the elections, were shared by Twitter Vice President for Public Policy Colin Crowell with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
The social networking platform said it was reviewing its internal data to find more such instances. “This is an ongoing process and we will continue to collaborate with investigators,” Twitter said in its statement.
Among the around 450 suspicious accounts Facebook recently found in a similar review, Twitter found 22 had ties with accounts on its own platform.
“All of those identified accounts had already been or immediately were suspended from Twitter for breaking our rules, most for violating our prohibitions against spam,” Twitter said.
On September 22, Facebook said it will provide the United States Congress information on suspicious ads with alleged Russian links, used during the 2016 election campaign. The company called it “an extraordinary investigation”, as it “raises questions that go to the integrity of the US elections”.
Earlier this month, Facebook’s internal review had found that Russia-based advertisers had spent $100,000 on 3,000 Facebook ads promoting divisive messages during and after the campaign. The company had initially refused to share details of the advertisements with the Congress.