On Tuesday, lawyers representing the three companies faced a marathon round of questions from U.S. lawmakers about how Russia used their platforms to meddle in the U.S. election.
“The foreign interference we saw is reprehensible,” said Facebook’s General Counsel Colin Stretch during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing.
From January 2015 to August 2017, Russian entities used ads to promote 120 Facebook pages they set up, which then posted more than 80,000 pieces of content.
Twitter said they found more than 36,746 automated accounts linked to Russia that posted 1.4 million tweets, representing about 0.74 percent of election-related tweets from September to November 2016.
“How do you deal with the problem of a legitimate and lawful, but phony American shell corporation, one that calls itself say Americans for Puppies and Prosperity, has a dropbox as its address and a $50 million check in its bank book that it is using to spend to manipulate election outcomes?,” asked Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island.
Twitter’s acting general counsel Sean Edgett pointed to the work the company is doing to increase transparency around advertising and said they’re working on the best approach to identify who is behind these ads.