During a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday, a Facebook representative stated that Russian election interference was limited to “a few thousand” of two billion posts analyzed by the social media firm.
During a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, representatives from Facebook, YouTube and Twitter were grilled about Russian interference in the 2016 election. What the Silicon Valley representatives revealed is that the scope of Russian interference via social media was actually quite limited.
Juniper Downs, a YouTube executive representing the company, revealed that they could only link $5,000 in advertising sales and 1,000 YouTube videos to Russian interference.
Facebook’s Head of Global Policy Management, Monika Bickert, stated that “a few thousand” of approximately two billion Facebook posts analyzed were found to be linked to Russian entities.
The tech company representatives were, however, unable to give a straight answer when asked if other foreign actors, such as China or Noth Korea, had attempted to use their platforms to influence the election. Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX) grilled the tech company representatives but all seemed unable to answer his questions.
Despite the lack of evidence of significant efforts by Russian intelligence to utilize social media to influence the election, Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee repeatedly attempted to derail the investigation into a Russia probe.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) began his opening statement saying: “In terms of today’s hearing, the majority would rather focus on made up threats, fabricated, phony and inflated threats instead of the real threats that are facing the United States of America so today we resume consideration for the entirely imaginative narrative that social media companies are biased against conservatives. Companies I should add, whose platforms were used to spread vicious Russian propaganda which helped to elect Donald Trump President.”
However, as previously mentioned, the propaganda spread via social media platforms was apparently extremely limited and likely did not have a huge impact on the election outcome.