Rus­sian trolls had Twit­ter ac­counts

It’s the same group re­spon­si­ble for fake pages on Face­book

USA TODAY US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Jes­sica Guynn and Erin Kelly

Same group also re­spon­si­ble for fake pages on Face­book

Twit­ter says it found some 200 ac­counts linked to the same Rus­sian groups that bought $100,000 worth of ads on Face­book to sow po­lit­i­cal un­rest and ma­nip­u­late U.S. vot­ers dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

The Twit­ter ac­counts, which were taken down over the last month, were linked to 470 ac­counts and pages that Face­book traced to the In­ter­na­tional Re­search Agency, an en­tity known as a troll farm that un­leashes fake so­cial me­dia ac­counts to stir con­tro­versy and con­flict.

Ac­cord­ing to a blog post re­leased by Twit­ter on Thurs­day af­ter brief­ing staffers on the House and Se­nate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tees, the groups on Face­book had 22 Twit­ter ac­counts. Twit­ter found an ad­di­tional 179 ac­counts con­nected to those 22.

Twit­ter also shared in­for­ma­tion on Rus­sian news out­let Rus­sia Today, or RT, which has ties to the Krem­lin, ac­cord­ing to U.S. in­tel­li­gence agen­cies.

Three RT ac­counts spent $274,100 tar­get­ing U.S. mar­kets with ads in 2016, ac­cord­ing to Twit­ter.

The San Fran­cisco com­pany, which has been ac­cused of not do­ing enough to po­lice fake ac­counts, pledged Thurs­day to step up en­force­ment.

Sen. Mark Warner of Vir­ginia, the se­nior Demo­crat on the Se­nate in­tel­li­gence panel, blasted Twit­ter af­ter Thurs­day’s brief­ing, telling re­porters that the com­pany’s pre­sen­ta­tion was “in­ad­e­quate on al­most ev­ery level” and showed “an enor­mous lack of un­der­stand­ing ... of how se­ri­ous this is­sue is (and) the threat it poses to demo­cratic in­sti­tu­tions.”

Twit­ter de­clined to com­ment on Warner’s re­marks.

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