Twitter is working on a way to inform users exposed to Russian content

Twitter told lawmakers on Wednesday that it is working on a way to alert users who may have seen content on the site from a Kremlin-linked organization.

“We will be working to identify and inform individually, the users who may have been exposed to the IRA (Internet Research Agency) accounts during the election,” said Carlos Monje, Twitter’s North America Public Policy and Philanthropy director.

Though Russian officials denied meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, social media companies have discovered Russian-linked posts and ads that apparently aimed to divide Americans and sow discord.

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Monje, along with officials from Facebook and Google-owned YouTube, was testifying before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation committee about how the tech firm is combating terrorist content.

As part of the hearing, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, said he sent a letter to Facebook, Google and Twitter urging them to inform users who may have seen Russian-linked content.

Facebook has already started rolling out a tool that lets users check if they liked or followed a Facebook page or Instagram account created by the Internet Research Agency. The tool, though, doesn’t tell users, if Russian-linked content appeared on their News Feed during the election.

While Blumenthal said he was pleased with Facebook’s response, the senator wasn’t happy with Google.

“I just want to be blunt. I am disappointed by Google’s written response. It essentially blew off my concerns by saying the nature of the platform made it difficult to know who has viewed its content,” he said.

During the hearing, tech executives also outlined how they’ve been using a mix of artificial intelligence and employees to flag extremist content, often times before it’s posted.

Photo: Carlos Monje, Director of Twitter’s North America Public Policy and Philanthropy, speaks during a hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation committee on Capitol Hill Jan. 17, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)


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