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Twitter to Meet With Senate Committee on Russia Election Interference

WASHINGTON — Twitter representatives will meet with the Senate Intelligence Committee next week as it probes Russian interference in the 2016 election, a company spokeswoman said on Thursday.

Twitter engages with governments around the world on public policy issues of importance and of interest to policymakers,” the spokeswoman said.  “We are cooperating with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in its inquiry into the 2016 election and will meet with committee staff next week. Twitter deeply respects the integrity of the election process, a cornerstone of all democracies, and will continue to strengthen our platform against bots and other forms of manipulation that violate our Terms of Service.”

Major internet firms have come under scrutiny by Capitol Hill lawmakers who want to know the extent to which their platforms were used by Russian sources to speak fake news and other misinformation, or to try to use social media to influence the electoral process in other ways. Facebook said that it has found that Russian-linked sources purchased about $150,000 worth of issue-oriented ads from 2015 to 2017, but lawmakers on the Intelligence Committee say that they want to interview company executives further.

On Wednesday, The Daily Beast reported that Russian sources appear to have used Facebook to try to organize rallies in Florida.

Facebook has also been sharing its information with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia interference and whether Donald Trump’s campaign had any involvement in it.

The briefing with Twitter executives is expected to be on Wednesday and closed to the press. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, has told reporters that he would like to see a hearing on the role that Internet sites played in the 2016 election.

Earlier this year, Twitter’s vice president of public policy Colin Crowell outlined the steps that they are working to ensure that they are “surfacing the highest quality and most relevant content and context first.”

“We are working hard to detect spammy behaviors at source, such as the mass distribution of Tweets or attempts to manipulate trending topics,” he wrote. “We also reduce the visibility of potentially spammy Tweets or accounts while we investigate whether a policy violation has occurred. When we do detect duplicative, or suspicious activity, we suspend accounts.”

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