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Blaming Russia for Major U.S. Problems Raises Risk of Not Seeing Enemy Within

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Richard Burr (left), Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee; Mark Warner (right), Vice Chair

Richard Burr (left), Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee; Mark Warner (right), Vice Chair

The U.S. House and Senate Intelligence Committees have asked executives from Google, Facebook and Twitter to appear at their respective public hearings on November 1. The hearings will seek testimony on evidence already turned over to the Committees by the companies on how Russia used social media accounts, bots, trolls and advertising to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.

The New York Times reported yesterday that “On Facebook, fake Russia-linked accounts — in which fictional people posed as American activists — promoted inflammatory messages on divisive issues. Those accounts bought advertising to promote those messages and reach a bigger audience within the Facebook universe, while promoting the incendiary posts to different locations or people with established political leanings for maximum impact.”

Facebook has turned over information on 3,000 Russia-linked ads that appeared on its network in the leadup to the 2016 presidential election. Google this week disclosed that Russia-linked ads had also appeared on its platforms during the presidential campaign. Twitter has provided evidence to the Committees that RT, a Russian, state-funded television network previously known as Russia Today, had advertised on its network during the presidential campaign period.

On September 27, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, responded to the political fallout from the Russia investigation as follows:

“The facts suggest the greatest role Facebook played in the 2016 election was different from what most are saying:

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