Russian firm spent $372k on Twitter ads

This admission comes as the social media platform hands over information on their possible role in the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race.

Unlike on Facebook, Twitter said the accounts it identified were not registered as advertisers.

Facebook, Twitter and Google officials have been called to testify publicly before the Senate Intelligence Committee on November 1 about Russian attempts to use social media to sway last year's presidential election after Facebook revealed that a Russian troll operation had purchased more than 3,000 political ads on the platform.

Of the 450 or so "inauthentic" accounts Facebook has shared through its own review, Twitter wrote Thursday, 22 corresponded with accounts on its platform.

The biggest news in their disclosure was that Twitter, working alongside Facebook, identified more than 200 fake accounts, which it is has since suspended.

The group bought Facebook ads to reach targeted audiences, promoting political rallies aimed at Muslims, the website reported.

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"Twitter is in dialogue with congressional committees with respect to investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election", the micro-blogging platform said in a blog post. In that year, the @RT_com, @RT_America, and @ActualidadRT accounts promoted 1,823 Tweets that definitely or potentially targeted the USA market. Mark Warner, ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, who found it "deeply disappointing", CBS News reports.

Warner in remarks to reporters called Twitter's statements "deeply disappointing" and "inadequate on nearly every level".

The micro-blogging site, which also identified Russia Today of buying ads targeted at American users' accounts, said that it would cooperate with congressional committees with respect to investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. Twitter is expected to appear along with Facebook and Google before both the House and Senate in hearings on the Russian influence campaign over the course of the next two months. Twitter said it "took action on the ones we found in violation of our rules". Twitter's presentation was "based upon accounts that Facebook had identified", making it "inadequate on nearly every level", he said. Unlike Facebook, Twitter allows both anonymous accounts and automated accounts, or bots, making it far more hard to police the service.

In response, Twitter said, "These are not meant to be definitive solutions. As patterns of malicious activity evolve, we're adapting to meet them head-on", said the blog post from Twitter.

Facebook Inc. and Google Inc. will join Twitter in further sessions with US intelligence committees in the coming months.

  • Joey Payne