The Plot Thickens as Twitter Unveils Damage Done by Russian Trolls
Twitter sold more than $270,000 of ads to Russia-linked accounts during the 2016 election, the company said Thursday, further detailing the extent of potential foreign influence that's spurred Senate investigations and calls for greater regulation.
Twitter accounts affiliated with Russia Today, an outlet with "strong links" to the Russian government," promoted more than 1,800 tweets that "definitely or potentially targeted the U.S. market," the company said in a statement.
Twitter also said that it found Twitter accounts for 22 of the 450 Russia-linked accounts that Facebook said had bought ads on Facebook during the election. It also found 179 more accounts linked to those 22. Twitter has suspended all those accounts.
Thursday Twitter turned over "a round-up of ads" from Russia-linked accounts targeted to the U.S. market, the statement said.
"We are concerned about violations of our Terms of Service and U.S. law with respect to interference in the exercise of voting rights," the statement said. "During the 2016 election, we removed Tweets that were attempting to suppress or otherwise interfere with the exercise of voting rights, including the right to have a vote counted, by circulating intentionally misleading information."
Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia who has been helping to lead inquiries into how Russia tried to influence the election via American social media, was not impressed with Twitter's presentation.
He said the Twitter briefing was mostly derivative of a presentation earlier this month given by Facebook and lacked thoroughness. "Their response was, frankly, inadequate on almost every level," Warner told reporters.