- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The same Russian-backed operatives who tried to sow discord during the 2016 election and targeted Hillary Clinton then went on to attack President Trump once the election was over, top social media company executives told Congress on Tuesday.

And even more than individuals, the ads chiefly targeted divisive issues such as race relations, immigration, gun rights and other hot-button topics that regularly spark fights in U.S. politics, the executives said.

Facebook, Twitter and Google all said the actual amount of Russian-backed content was a very small part of the online conversation. Facebook said the amount of news produced by the Internet Research Agency, based in St. Petersburg, Russia, was less than a hundredth of one percent.

But each of the companies said they take the interference seriously, have shut down accounts tied to foreign operatives that violate their terms of service, and plan more steps to try to trace future ads, news posts, videos and other content.

“Our goal is to bring people closer together. These foreign actors sought to drive people apart,” Colin Stretch, general counsel for Facebook, told the Senate Judiciary Committee, in the first public hearing with the major social media companies on foreign interference in the 2016 election.



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