Social media giants Facebook, Google and Twitter have been put in the dock over how they came to be exploited by Russia in a bid to sway voters in the 2016 presidential election.
At the first of three congressional hearings, representatives from the tech giants admitted they should have been more diligent in tracing the source of their advertisement funding.
Colin Stretch, general counsel Facebook: “The foreign interference we saw is reprehensible. That foreign actors used our platform and other internet services to sow division and discord and to try to undermine the election is directly contrary to our values and goes against everything that Facebook stands for.”
Russia has denied influencing last year’s presidential election but Congress is convinced attempts were made by Russian trolls to disseminate disinformation and political ads were purchased on the social media sites.
“The abuse of our platform to attempt state-sponsored manipulation of elections is a new challenge for us and one that we are determined to meet.
“Today, we intend to show the committee how serious we are about addressing this new threat by explaining the work we are doing to understand what happened and to ensure it does not happen again, said Sean Edgett, acting general counsel for Twitter.”
Facebook has recently revealed that as many as 126 million American users may have seen content uploaded by Russia-based operatives in the last two years.
It has also admitted that Iran or North Korea could try to do the same.