Sen. Warner pushing for Facebook and Twitter execs to testify in public on role in Russia meddling
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, plans to discuss the possibility of inviting representatives from Facebook and Twitter to testify how the social media platforms helped spread misinformation during the 2016 presidential election.
Warner told reporters Tuesday he would speak with Senate Intel Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) “later today and later this week” about a potential public hearing involving the megalithic social media companies.
“We’re seeing more evidence of additional ads and how they are used to manipulate individuals,” Warner said. “I think, one of the reasons why we need to bring in Facebook, Twitter and others in some level of public hearing, is that this opens a whole new arena.”
“We’re trying to work through the parameters and figure out where does the hearing take us, what is it we’re looking for, and importantly we know it has some value to our investigation,” Burr likewise told the Hill.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is investigating a concerted effort by the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election in favor of Donald Trump. As the Washington Post reports, Facebook recently admitted it sold advertisements to fake accounts linked to a Russian “troll-farm” with a history of peddling pro-Kremlin propaganda during the campaign.
“Our analysis suggests these accounts and pages were affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russia,” Facebook said.
Following that revelation, Warner warned it may be “the tip of the iceberg” in terms of Russia’s use of social media in 2016.
“Let’s face it, the whole notion of social media and how it is used in political campaigns is the wild wild west,” Warner said Tuesday, according to Recode. “I’ll grant Facebook that maybe they weren’t as fully aware in the immediate aftermath of our elections, although for many months they said this didn’t happen. I’ve wondered about that.”