Twitter’s Executives Hold Talks With House, Senate in Russia Probe

The anonymous “bots” that can spread misinformation and the Russian interference in the 2016 elections continue sparking serious discussions around the globe. Twitter’s executives on Thursday addressed the House and Senate investigators. They took a number of hours in the closed-door meetings to brief all the members.

The executives included attorney Elizabeth Banker; Carlos Monje, the company’s director of public policy and philanthropy; Emily Horne, global policy communications director  and Colin Crowell, a vice president of public policy, government and corporate philanthropy.

Facebook had earlier given similar briefings. The House and Senate panels have summoned the two tech giants and they are expected to appear together with Google at the public hearings this fall.

The committees have revealed that they will in the coming weeks engage in the scrutiny of propaganda on social media as well as in the spread of false news stories. It will be seeking to establish whether or not Russia got involved, and if so to what extent. Asides from that, it will also be keen on finding out if any given person in the United States helped target those stories.

Facebook disclosed that the phony accounts on its platform made numerous attempts to stir up divisiveness in the concluded elections. Twitter has taken a different stand by choosing to remain silent of the matter.

These two social media providers have different kinds of platforms. In its many years of operation, Twitter has always given room for the various users to register anonymously and that is the reason it even has more public accounts than Facebook.

Quite a significant number of lawmakers have come forward to express their concerns citing that the proliferation of the anonymous “bots” needed to be scrutinized more closely.

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner who also happens to be the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence panel opined, “They have obviously a different business model, and also they’ve never tried to prevent fake accounts, use of bots. They don’t deny they have allowed more anonymity. So they’ve got a different business model, we’ve got different questions for them.”