Twitter fires back after scathing review of Russia inquiry presentation

Twitter is firing back after the social platform received a scathing review of its presentation to congressional staffers on Thursday who are probing Russian interference in last year's U.S. presidential election.

"We brought the committees a wide range of information we proactively gathered, including inquiries into what Facebook shared with us and beyond," Twitter spokeswoman Emily Horne told NBC News.

This included information about measures they took during the 2016 campaign to tackle misinformation, details about how Twitter fights bots and spam on the network, and the disclosure that Kremlin-linked news outlet RT spent $274,100 on Twitter ads last year.

"The committees had not requested any specific information from us; we did this proactively, to demonstrate the kinds of inquiries we can do when we have parameters," she said.

15 PHOTOS
Putting the Trump-Russia timeline into perspective
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Putting the Trump-Russia timeline into perspective
June 7: The 2016 primary season essentially concludes, with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as the presumptive party nominees
June 9: Donald Trump Jr. — along with Jared Kushner and former campaign chair Paul Manafort — meets with Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
June 9: Trump tweets about Clinton's missing 33,000 emails
July 18: Washington Post reports, on the first day of the GOP convention, that the Trump campaign changed the Republican platform to ensure that it didn't call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces
July 21: GOP convention concludes with Trump giving his speech accepting the Republican nomination
July 22: WikiLeaks releases stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee
July 25: Democratic convention begins
July 27: In final news conference of his 2016 campaign, Trump asks Russia: "If you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing"
August 4: Obama CIA Director John Brennan confronts his Russian counterpart about Russia's interference. "[I] told him if you go down this road, it's going to have serious consequences, not only for the bilateral relationship, but for our ability to work with Russia on any issue, because it is an assault on our democracy," Brennan said on "Meet the Press" yesterday.
October 4: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange says his organization will publish emails related to the 2016 campaign
October 7: WikiLeaks begins releasing Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta's emails
October 7: Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence release a statement directly saying that Russia is interfering in the 2016 election
October 31: "This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove," Trump says on the campaign trail
November 4: "Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks," Trump says from Ohio.
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Twitter's vice president for public policy, Colin Crowell, met behind closed-doors Thursday with staff members from the intelligence committees from both the Senate and the House, the company said in a blog post.

After the meeting, Senator Mark Warner, D-Va., the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he was "deeply disappointed" and called Twitter's response "frankly inadequate on almost every level."

Related: Twitter’s Response to Russia Inquiry ‘Inadequate,’ Democratic Senator Says

Twitter released its longest public response to the Russian inquiry on Thursday, detailing some of what it told Congress in a blog post, while noting that some information could not be publicly shared.

The company said it removed 201 accounts linked to the same Russian operatives who used Facebook to spread misinformation during the election.

Twitter was able to link the accounts it removed to Russian entities through an internal review of roughly 450 accounts shared by Facebook, the blog post said. Those groups had 22 corresponding Twitter accounts, while 179 more accounts were linked to them.

The company's response comes as Congress is placing more scrutiny on technology companies to answer questions in the Russian meddling probe.

Facebook is in the process of handing over 3,000 advertisements to special counsel Robert Mueller and Congress, including payment data and details on how Russian entities targeted voters through Facebook's system.

Representatives from Facebook and Twitter have also been invited to testify at an open hearing before Congress regarding the Russian investigation. 

 

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