Colin Stretch, Facebook's general counsel, also revealed at the Senate Intelligence Committee that the 126 million of its USA users exposed to content from Russian accounts did not include Instagram - where an "additional 16 million people" viewed such content since October 2016.
At the hearings, Facebook, Twitter and Google were pressed on whether they're even capable of preventing bad actors from taking advantage of their platforms through ads and regular posts. Verto also reported that Instagram added more than 15 million more users, based on Verto App Watch data on US adults age 18 and older, marking an 11.6% increase from June to September. "You have a huge problem on your hands".
This group, set up by Russians, created this post saying that the Black Panther party was "dismantled by United States government because they were black men and women standing up for justice and equality". "Russia was able to weaponize your platforms to divide us". "And you have to be the ones who do something about it - or we will", Sen.
"We're deeply concerned. This is an issue that we talk about constantly", Sean Edgett, Twitter's acting general counsel, said at the hearing.
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To gain more views, the pages bought ads on Facebook promoting the event. Each general counsel also struggled to name an executive at their company who is specifically tasked with overseeing the threat.
Facebook's Russian Federation problem isn't affecting the company's business. "They are much more widespread than one election", Rubio said. That's on top of 3,000 content reviewers Facebook said it would hire to police violent videos. Facebook had previously disclosed that 126 million accounts were served that content on Facebook. "We would appreciate seeing the top people who are actually making the decisions".
All three companies said they saw Russian activity on their platforms as early as the beginning of 2015, before the presidential election kicked off in earnest.
King, who called Russia's influence online a "sophisticated worldwide strategy", used information compiled by Alliance for Securing Democracy to show that Russian Federation continues to try and interfere in American discourse by propagating hashtags related to President Donald Trump's attacks on NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, Trump's catchphrase "MAGA", and the ongoing conflict in Syria.
Republicans continued to downplay the role Russians had in the U.S. presidential election and said their main goal was the sow social discord and fan the flames of division in the US.