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Social media representatives summoned for hearings on Russia

Tim Maytom

Representatives from Google, Facebook and Twitter have been asked to appear before the latest round of hearings on alleged Russian interference in US politics, this time called by the US Senate and House Intelligence Committees.

The 1 November hearings will continue investigations into the role that ‘fake news’, misinformation and propaganda funded by sources in Russia played in the lead-up to the 2016 US Presidential election and other political races.

Facebook and Twitter have already agreed to send representatives to the Senate committee hearing, and while Google has not yet notified the government about its plans, it’s likely that it too will send someone to provide the government with information and insight.

Over the past few weeks, there have been multiple revelations about the extent of Russian-funded advertising on social media. Facebook has disclosed that around 10m Americans saw Russia-funded ads aimed at influencing their political opinions between June 2015 and May 2017, with fake Russian accounts likely spending over $100,000 (£75,200) on advertising over the same period.

Google has also reportedly discovered large amounts of Russian spending aimed at influencing the election, with tens of thousands of dollars spent across YouTube, Search, Gmail and the company's DoubleClick ad network, and as recently as last week, Twitter handed over details of 201 Russia-affiliated accounts to Senate investigators.

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