Top congressional Democrats on Tuesday called on Facebook and Twitter to urgently examine the role of Russian bots and trolls in the growing online campaign to release a classified memo about allegations that the FBI mishandled a classified surveillance request as it probed Russia’s meddling in the 2016 campaign.
Hashtags such as “#ReleaseTheMemo” have been trending on Twitter in recent days, and accounts affiliated with Russian influence efforts have been supporting this effort, according to the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a U.S.-based group that examines efforts by Russia and other nations to interfere in democratic institutions.
The letter to Facebook and Twitter calls for rapid study of these allegations and for the companies to shut down accounts that are involved. The authors are Rep. Adam Schiff and Sen. Diane Feinstein, both California Democrats; Schiff is ranking member of the House intelligence committee, and Feinstein is ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“If these reports are accurate, we are witnessing an ongoing attack by the Russian government through Kremlin-linked social media actors directly acting to intervene and influence our democratic process,” wrote Schiff and Feinstein. “This should be disconcerting to all Americans, but especially your companies as, once again, it appears the vast majority of their efforts are concentrated on your platforms. This latest example of Russian interference is in keeping with Moscow’s concerted, covert, and continuing campaign to manipulate American public opinion and erode trust in our law enforcement and intelligence institutions.”
The urgent request for investigation, with a report back due on Friday, underscores…