Twitter Finds and Suspends 200 Suspicious Russian Accounts

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The Senate and House intelligence committees are two of the main congressional panels probing allegations that Russian Federation sought to interfere in the USA election to boost Republican President Donald Trump's chances at winning the White House, and possible collusion between Trump associates and Russian Federation. According to at least one committee member, the company came up short.

Facebook has come under increased scrutiny after acknowledging that hundreds of accounts and pages probably operated from Russian Federation spent almost $100,000 on ads.

Twitter added that it unearthed an additional 179 "related or linked accounts" with ties to the fake Russian Facebook accounts. The company apparently found nearly nothing beyond that.

Those 22 accounts had already been suspended for violations, while the others were immediately suspended, Twitter said. The news agency used three accounts to promote 1,823 tweets.

The social media platform also found that Russian news site RT, which has close ties to the Kremlin, spent $274,000 on US ads in 2016. The television network is not exactly the kind of covert operation federal investigators are after, however.

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It was unclear what Twitter was likely to say in Thursday's hearing, but the company is under increased pressure from lawmakers and the public to disclose what it knows about Russian activity. According to the company, it will also continue to strengthen its platform against attempted manipulation, including bots, spam and malicious information networks.

Next month, representatives from Facebook and Twitter are scheduled testify at an open hearing before Congress regarding the Russian investigation. Twitter reports that 22 of those Facebook accounts "had corresponding accounts on Twitter". Twitter noted that none of the accounts were registered for ads on its platform.

After the meeting, Warner addressed a group of reporters, saying that Twitter's actions at the meeting "either shows an unwillingness to take this threat seriously or a complete lack of a fulsome effort". Mark Warner, called the meeting "inadequate on nearly every level".

"Due to the nature of these inquiries, we may not always be able to publicly share what we discuss with investigators", Twitter said.

The House and Senate intelligence committees are looking into whether Russia-linked bad actors online helped sow divisiveness and spread misinformation online as part of a Kremlin-backed plot to meddle in the 2016 election. "We've been fighting against these issues for years, and as long as there are people trying to manipulate Twitter, we will be working hard to stop them".

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