Congress looks into Russian social media meddling

This image provided by Facebook, shows how ads on Facebook will be more transparent. Days ahead of testimony at three congressional hearings, the company is taking new steps to verify advertisers and make all ads on the site more transparent. Executives for the social media company said on Oct. 27, they will verify political ad buyers, requiring them to reveal correct names and locations, and create new graphics on the site where users can click on the ads and find out more about the organizations or people behind them. (Facebook via AP)

WASHINGTON (NBC News) — Representatives from Facebook, Twitter and Google faced Senators Tuesday at the first of three Congressional hearings looking into how Russia attempted to meddle in the 2016 Presidential Election through social media.

“We have found that foreign actors have used fake accounts to place ads on Facebook and Instagram that reached millions of Americans,” said Facebook’s general counsel Colin Stretch.

Those posts came from 120 fake, Russia-backed Facebook pages, that through likes, shares, and follows reached 126 million people, or half of all eligible American voters.

“What is really staggering and hard to comprehend is how easily and successfully they turned modern tech to their advantage,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Twitter says its investigation has found nearly 37,000 accounts linked to Russian entities in the lead up to election day.

Facebook, Twitter and Google say they have all instituted new polices to prevent future meddling.

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