Facebook, Google, and Twitter all had representatives testify before the Senate Judiciary committee about Russia influence on each of their platforms during the 2016 election.
A few things came out of these hearings, and now there is a better understanding of just how many Americans were receiving and viewing Russian content during the election season. Additionally, each of the representatives spoke to ways they plan to avoid this type of interference in the future.
Facebook announced that as many as 126 million Americans might have been subject to material produced by the Russian-linked accounts. Twitter indicated that they have identified 36,000 accounts with ties to Russia. Those accounts are long to have tweeted 1.4 million times related to the election. Youtube said that they have found 18 channels suspected to have Russian links, producing more than 1000 videos. .
A common theme among a lot of the content pushed out by these Russian accounts is creating division. Sensitive topics were frequently brought up, issues like race and immigration- all aimed against Hillary Clinton.
Now that it is clear that there was foul play on the part of Russians, many are left wondering what these Silicon Valley companies are going to do to protect the integrity of American elections in the future. All of them have stated some pending changes. Facebook is saying it will allow users to see those who purchase ads, Twitter has banned two Russian media outlets from its platform, and Google is saying there will be more transparency as well. However, there is also pending legislation that would legally impose transparency on the platforms.