Google and Twitter told Congress that they have found no evidence of Russian influence efforts in the handful of U.S. special elections held last year. The companies responded to written questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee. The questions were a follow up to a November 1 hearing in which the companies were heavily criticized for their lack of response to Russian influence efforts in the 2016 presidential election.
In their statements, Google and Twitter said they were not aware of any “state-sponsored” attempts to interfere in any American elections in 2017. “While we have not specifically detected any abuse of our platforms in connection with the 2017 state elections, our work is ongoing, and we will continue to develop tools and processes to combat evolving threats,” Google’s statement read.
Facebook did not specifically respond to questions about last year’s elections. The company simply said, “We have learned from the 2016 election cycle and from elections worldwide this last year. We have incorporated that learning into our automated systems and human review and have greatly improved in preparation for the upcoming elections.”
Twitter told the Committee that it had bolstered its fake-account security capabilities with both automated detection techniques and human-screening capabilities. The goal, the company says, is to be able to identify accounts that appear to be working in concert to cause certain news stories to trend.
It also announced that it officially plans to launch its Advertising Transparency Center, a platform dedicated to disclosing information about political ads, in the first quarter of 2018.