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Facebook, Twitter issue mea culpas on failure to spot Russian meddling

Facebook and Twitter executives issued mea culpas Wednesday for failing to root out Russian meddling in the 2016 election, with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg saying it was “completely unacceptable,” and promising to keep cracking down.

“We were too slow to spot this and too slow to act. This is on us,” she said at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. “This interference was completely unacceptable.”

Facebook in particular came under fire for being at the forefront of Russia’s attempts to interfere in the 2016 election, as actors set up fake Facebook groups, organized protests and spread memes as part of an effort to disrupt the election.

Thirteen Russians were indicted by FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller earlier this year on charges of plotting to disrupt the election by creating fake social media accounts to weigh in and stir up political issues.

Democrats have seized on the revelations to question the result of the election, and have repeatedly expressed anger at social media platforms for failing to act.

Sandberg said that the company was taking action in rooting out meddling, fake accounts and abuse. In combating “fake news,” she said articles rated as false by third-party fact checkers are demoted, and those who share them are warned about them. She said the company had doubled its safety and security section to combat bad actors, as well. Read more

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