The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee bashed Twitter Thursday for an “inadequate” and “deeply disappointing” presentation the social meeting company gave earlier Thursday morning to the committee staff investigating Russian election meddling.
“I am more than a bit surprised, in light of all the public interest in this subject over the last few weeks, that anyone from the Twitter team would think that the presentation they made to the Senate staff today even began to answer the kind of questions that we’d asked,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) told reporters.
After meeting with Senate Intel, as well as with the House Intelligence Committee, Twitter posted a statement disclosing that, working from the 450 inauthentic Facebook accounts that Facebook had identified earlier this month, it had found around 200 accounts that violated Twitter’s own rules that have since been suspended.
Warner on Thursday called that work “derivative” and said it showed “an enormous lack of understanding from the Twitter team of how serious this issue is.”
“The effort that appears to be put forward — that it was mostly derivative, based upon the roughly 450 accounts that Facebook identified and then simply searching more about those specific accounts — either shows a unwillingness to take this threat seriously or a complete lack of fulsome effort,” he said.
Warner pointed to recent reports that Russia-linked Twitter accounts may have been behind tweets inflaming both sides of the current NFL national anthem debate.
Asked if he would subpoena Twitter, Warner said, “My goal with all of these entities and enterprises is to continue to try to work on a cooperative basis.”
He argued that the current circumstances in the United States are not the same as the role Twitter plays in oppressive regimes in giving a platform to individuals to be heard.
“If [Americans] don’t know whether ad sponsorship is coming from foreign governments or foreign agents, or if stories are popping up not because there is genuine interest from Americans, but it is being sponsored by foreign entities, I think Americans are going to want to know that and at some point these companies are going to test the confidence and faith that Americans have in their enterprises,” Warner said.