tv Russia and Social Media Hearing CSPAN October 31, 2017 5:38pm-8:02pm EDT
held as an enemy combatant, interrogating him about what he knows in benghazi and terrorism in general that can immigrate to the united states. we have done a job of slowly and criminalizing the war. i think that's a mistake. thank you. and senator lindsey graham there, lastry referring to an incident in new york city that mayor bill de blasio has called a cowardly act of terror. from the associated press, a man in a rented pickup truck drove onto a busy bicycle path near the world trade center, killing at least eight people and
injured several others. senator graham was chairing a meeting of the crime and terrorism subcommittee of the senate judiciary committee on extremist content and russian disinformation online. representatives from twitter, facebook, and google appeared as part of the ongoing investigation into russian interference in the last presidential election. the hearing lasted about three hours. and we are going to show you some of that now. starting with opening statements from earlier today. >> thank you all. the subcommittee will come to order. here's sort of the order of battle. i'll make an opening statement, senator whitehouse, i think senator feinstein would like to make one, and if senator
grassley come, he will certainly be allowed to do this. the title of this hearing is extremist content and russian disinformation online, working with tech to find solutions. that's exactly what we want to do. so we're here to try to find solutions. let me describe, i think, the challenge. i doubt if i would be here if it weren't for social media, to be honest with you, president trump told fox news on october 20th, 2017. so this is the president of the united states saying that from his point of view, social media was an invaluable tool to help him win an election. i would dare say that every politician up here today asking you questions uses your service, and we find it invaluable to communicate with our constituents and get our message out. not only do we use it, not only did the president use it, millions of americans use your technology to share the first step of a grandchild, to talk about good and bad things in our lives, and i would like to say to all of you, you have enriched
america. we have more information available to us because of what you do. we can find an answer to almost any question, when was the pentagon built. we can share aspects of our lives with those who mean the most to us, and we can talk among ourselves in 140 characters. some people better at that than others. some people should probably do less of it, but the bottom line is these technologies also can be used to undermine our democracy and put our nation at risk. the platforms that i have just described that use value to individual american lives and to our country also can be used by terrorists to recruit in the cyber world people to their cause. can be used by foreign governments. we have seen an example of that in 2016. to create chaos within our democracy. information is power. ideas are the essence of
democracy, the exchange of ideas being able to criticize each other is one of the things that we cherish the most, but what we have to be on guard as a nation is having people who want to undermine our way of life using these platforms against us, and i think this is the national security challenge of the 21st century. here's what general petraeus said about jihadists online. jihadists have shown particular facilitating exploiting ungoverned or inadequately governed spaces in the islamic world. they're also exploiting the vast, largely ungoverned spaces in cyberspace, demonstrating increasing technical expertise, sophistication in media production, and ability to limit its access. it is clear that our counterextremism efforts online have until now been inadequate. i think that's a fair statement.
the purpose of this hearing is to figure out how we can help you. i believe that each of you in your own way are taking these problems seriously. the one thing i can say without a doubt, what we're doing collectively is not working. you had a foreign government apparently buying thousands of dollars worth of advertising to create discontent and discord in the 2016 election. you have foreign entities going to websites to create fights among americans, like we don't have enough to fight about on our own. so the bottom line is these platforms are being used by people who wish us harm and wish to undercut our way of life. if you're a man like putin, democracy is your worst nightmare. if you live in putin's russia, the idea of exchanging information about what's good and bad about your government is something you dare not do because you won't last very long. so to those who wish to undermine the american way of
life, they found portals into our society that are intermingled with everyday life, and the challenge of this hearing and of this focus is to how do we keep the good and deal with the bad? it will never be 100% perfect, but the goal is to be better than we are today. to the extent that legislation can help, we would like to know about what we could do to help. to the extent that the status quo is acceptable, we all want to be on the record and say it is not. so with that, i'll turn it over to senator whitehouse. >> thank you, senator graham, for organizing this fourth subcommittee hearing into russia's meddling in the 2016 election. i'm very proud of the work we're doing on this issue. i hope it will continue. i hope that you and your team see me and my team as loyal
partners in this effort. understanding what happened, how russia applied the varied methods in its election interference toolbox to interfere with our democracy is an important step toward protecting the integrity of future elections and of our democratic process. each hearing the subcommittee holds gets us closer to that understanding. but our first hearing back in march, we talked about the subcommittee's intent, and i quote, to begin a public conversation about the means and methods russia uses to undermine democratic government. we heard testimony from experer witnesses who outlined the various tools through which the kremlin exerts influence abroad. from intelligence methods like compromising corrupt businesses and political figures to hacking and leaking stolen information, to disinformation propaganda and provocation through both traditional media and social media networks. at a subcommittee hearing in
may, i went through a checklist of russia's toolbox to see which methods had been deployed against the united states in 20 sane. we'll learn today about one of those methods. propaganda, fake news, trolls, and bats, from representatives of major tech companies and outside experts. the russian government exploited social media platforms as part of a wide ranger disinformation campaign targeted against america and american voters. as we explore how that campaign worked and how we might better insulate ourselves in the future, let's recap what we learned in our hearings and what we still don't know. we certainly saw the hacking and theft of political information by russia. something no serious person can dispute. timed leaks of damaging material were the fruits of that crime. we know they happened, but we still don't know how the decisions were made about what to leak and when and who made them.
it's been reported that trump confidante roger stone communicated with guice afur 2.0. and we learned that a company that worked for the trump campaign offered help to julian assange, and we have the statement of offense prepared by the mueller probe. but we don't know the full story of who coordinated with wikileaks or even directly with russian hackers. another method we have heard about is the exploitation of shady business and financial ties. we have heard testimony from a number of witnesses both here in the subcommittee and at hearings of the helsinki commission that the u.s. has become a haven for secretive shell corporations that can allow foreign influence schemes to channel funds to compromised individuals and exert political influence. we still know next to nothing about the president's dealings in russia or with russians except he's long chased after deals there.
the president's tax returns would clarify a great deal and hopefully put an end to some of these questions. but those tax returns have not been made public. paul manafort's long history of suspicious business relationships with russian and ukrainian oligarchs has now yielded his indictment. the indictment exposed gaping holes in fara enforcement and in picking up on false statements and international money laundering. if you can use his alleged scheme to buy property, why not use it to make anonymous political expenditures or spend money to influence elections? we still don't have answers about the president's curious relationship with felix seder, who was chasing russian business in consultation with senior trump organization executive michael cohen well after the presidential campaign had begun. we haven't been able to speak with them, so we still don't have answers on this front. we know that the russians tried to corrupt and compromise political figures in order to exert influence over them.
we don't know to what extent that happened here, but we do know the trump campaign and administration has had a very bad habit of forgetting about meetings with russians. michael flynn is still the only person who have been held accountable for hiding improper contacts with russia even as more and more such contacts have emerged in the intervening months. paul manafort, jared kushner, and the president's son met with a russian lawyer sent to deliver damaging information about his opponent on behalf of the russian government in june 2016. mr. kushner apparently amended his security clearance application multiple times to reflect more than 100 foreign contacts he initially left off, including meetings with ambassador kislyak, and the head of a major russian bank. the leaders of the judiciary committee sent letters to the white house in june and july of this year with questions about the status of mr. kushner's clearance. to this day, those questions have been ignored.
nearly six months after we first ran through that check list, we still have more questions than answers. my sincere hope remains we will find those answers so that we accomplish this subcommittee's purpose, which is to help us learn how to protect the country from foreign political influence in our election. today, we have an opportunity to learn more about how russia exploited information and to share those details with the public. i appreciate the cooperation of facebook, google and twitter sending representatives here today. the intelligence community assessment published in january, and i quote from here, moscow's influence campaign followed a russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations such as cyber activity with overt efforts by russian government agencies, state-funded media, and paid
social media users or trolls. russian state-backed networks r.t. and sputnik are designed to undermine confidence in the legitimacy of western institutions and governments. social media troll armies like the one operated by the st. petersburg based internet research agency helped to am my f -- amplify those messages to launder russia propaganda messages and to be secure their russian origin. according to the ukrainian scholar, russian media "implant propaganda into the international sphere, having them picked up on social networks. when successful, propaganda
narratives can become part of the main stream media sphere. how can western democracies interrupt this vicious cycle? greater transparency and disclosure about the source of information, especially paid political advertising is a necessary first step. but our adversaries have access to tools well beyond political advertising. they are using our own special networks, our friendships, our families, and our biases and viewpoints against us to achieve their political end. i look forward to hearing from our witnesses about the ways we can work with the tech community to ensure we are prepared to confront russian disinformation in the future, and i express my appreciate to our chairman, senator graham. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i appreciate your courtesy in permitting just regular members to be here and participate.
it's very much appreciated. i had a briefing last week by outside technical experts. and i saw really for the first time how effectively russia has harnessed the tremendous and quite frankly to me frightening power of social media. they showed how millions of americans are reached and how russia successfully used fake accounts to embed itself, to shape and manipulate opinions and actions. so it shouldn't be news to anyone that russia interfered in the election. what is staggering and hard to fully comprehend is how easily and successfully they turned modern technologies to their advantage. russia used covert cyber attacks to obtain and release information to imact the
election as well as on ganda campaigns that relied heavily on r.t., the state-run television network, and the internet research agency, a group of professionals trolls reportedly financed by a close putin ally with ties to russian intelligence. documents and information that we had received from facebook, twitter, and google, confirm this. just a few more facts. facebook has identified 470 accounts tied to the internet research agency. twitter has identified 2,752 i.r.a. related accounts and almost 37,000 russian linked accounts that generated, automated election contempt. from what we have seen, russian backed trolls used fake accounts
on facebook for more than 3,000 paid advertisements. and those ads sought to sow discord and amplify racial and social divisions among american voters. they exploited hot button topics such as immigration, gun rights, lbgt, and racial issues to target both conservatives and progressives. so mr. chairman, and ranking member, this is really a critical hearing, because it's the first time we will have heard at least to my knowledge, from the three agent sis about exactly what is going on and most importantly what they are prepared to do to stop it. thank you very much. [ oath being given ]
at facebook, we give people the power to build community and wring the world closer together. we are proud that people come to us to learn about new products and services, to donate to organizations they care about. and to help out in a crisis. the threat of extremist content and the efforts by foreign actors to interfere with the
2016 election. keeping people safe on facebook is critical to our mission. can be part of the solution. we also believe we have an important role to play in the democratic process. and a responsibility to protect it on our platform. when it comes to the 2016 election, i want to be clear, we take what happened on facebook very seriously. the foreign interference we saw is reprehensible.
we build tools to help people to connect and facebook has become an important tool for political engagement and debate. our goal is to bring people closer together. we have found that foreign actors used fake accounts to place ads that reached millions of americans over a two-year people and those ads were used to promote pages which posted more content. many of these ads and posts are inflammato inflammatory. some are down right offensive. and much of it will be painful to communities that engaged with this content believing it to be
authentic. they have every right to expect more from us, and we are determined to do better. these ads imposed were a small infraction of the overall content on facebook. but any amount is too much. all of these accounts and pages violated our policies and we removed them. going forward, we're making significant investments, doubling our securitying and engineering efforts, and putting in restrictions. launching new tools to improve ad transparency and requiring more information from political add buyers, building artificial intelligence to locate bad actors. we are working more closely with industry to share information so that we can all respond faster and more effectively. and we are expanding our efforts to work with law enforcement. we know bad actors respect going
to stop their efforts. we look forward to the conclusions you will share with the american public and i look forward to your questions. >> chairman graham, ranking when whitehouse, and members of the committee, twitter understands the importance of the inquiry into russian disinformation in the 2016 election and we appreciate the opportunity to appear here today. the events underlining this have been concerning to our company and the broader twitter community. we are committed to providing a service that fosters free and open democratic debate and promotes positive change in the world. we are troubled that the power of twitter was misused by the
parties. the abuse of our platform is a new challenge for us. and one that we are determined to meet. today, we intend to show the committee how serious we are about address thing new threat by smaning the work we are doing to understand what happened and to ensure it does not happen again. at the time of the 2016 election, we observed instances and acted on them of automated and malicious activity. as we learned more about the scope of the broader problem, we resolved to strengthen our system going forward. elections continue all the time. so our first priority was to do all we could to block and remove malicious activity from interfering with our user's experience. we created dedicated teams within twitter, to enhance the quality of the information our users see and to block malicious activity wherever and whenever we find it.
those teams continue to work every day to ensure twitter remains safe, open and positive platform. we have also launched a retrospective review to find russian effort to influence the 2016 election throughout a nation coordinated activity, and advertising. while that review is still under way, we have made the decision to share what we know today. in the interest of transparency, and out of appreciation for the urgency of this matter, we do so recognizing our findings may be supplemented as we work with city staff and other companies, discover more facts, and gain a greater understanding of these events. my written testimony details the methodology and current findings of the review in detail. we studied tweets from september 1 to november 15, 2016. during that time, we did find automated and coordinated activity of interest. we determined that the number of accounts we could link to russia
and that were tweeting russian election content was relatively small. 1/3 of 1% of election tweets came from russian linked automated accounts. we did, however, observe instances where russian linked activity was more pronounced. and we have uncovered more accounts linked to the russian base internet research agency as a result of our review. we also determined that add verytizing by russia today in seven small accounts was related to the election and violated either the policy that existed at the time or have since been implemented. we have banned all of those users as advertisers and we will donate that revenue into the use of twitter during election and for civic engagement. we are making meaningful improvements, based on our findings. we are enhancing our safety
policies, sharpening our tools for stopping this activity and these improvements will further our efforts to fight terrorist content and disinformation. we will continue confronting these challenges for as long as malicious actors seek to abuse our system and we will need to evolve to stay ahead of new tactics. we have heard the concerns about russian actors use of twitter to disrupt the 2016 election and about our commitment to addressing this issue. twitter believes that any activity of that kind, regardless of magnitude, is unacceptable. and we agree we must do better to prevent it. we hope that our appearance today and the description of the work we have undertaken then stra -- demonstrates our commitment to working with you to ensure that the experience of 2016 never happens again.
cooperation to come watt thbat challenge is essential. as with most technology based threats, the best approach is to combine information and ideas to increase our collective knowledge, working within the broader community, we will continue to test, to learn, to share, and to improve the product remains effective and safe. i look forward to answering your questions. >> mr. chairman graham, distinguished members of the subcommittee, thank you for inviting us to participate in today's hearing and for your leadership on these challenging and important issues. i'm rich salgado. as director of security at google, i work with thousands of people at google, tasked with protecting the security of our network and user data. previously, i had the honor of serving with the computer crime
and intellectual section at the department of justice focusing on crimes such as hacking. google's services provide real benefit to our society. we recognize, however, that our services can be misused. state sponsored attackers are particularly pernicious. they are well resourced, they are sophisticated, and often by design, they are difficult to recognize. protecting our platforms from state-sponsored interference is a challenge we began tackling long before the 2016 presidential election. we dedicated significant resources to help protect our platform from such attacks by maintaining cutting edge defensive systems and building advanced security tools directly into your consumer products. we have a range of tools to detect and prevent bad actors from engaging in artificially amplifying content on our
platform. youtube, for example, uses an array of signals to catch those who try to flank the view counts of their videos. we've been looking across our products to understand whether individuals who appear to be connected to government backed entities were disseminating information in the u.s. for purpose of interfering with the election. this was based on research conducted by alphabet's jigsaw group, our security teams, and on leads provided by other companies. our review included a broad review of all ads from june 15th until the election last move that were categorized as potentially political by our systems, and had even the loosest connection to russia, such as a russian i.p. address, billing address or russian currency. we found two accounts that appeared to be engaged with
suspected backed sbi 't eed ent. the two accounts spent roughly $4700 in connection with the 2016 election. our investigation also focused on other platforms. on youtube, we found 18 channels with 1100 videos uploaded by individuals that contained political content. these videos mostly had low view counts, just 3% of them had more than 5,000 views, and constituted only around 43 hours of youtube content. while there is relatively small, people watch over a billion hours of youtube content a day, 400 hours are loaded every minute, we understand that this can be very serious. videos were not targeted to any particular segment of the u.s. population, but we did observe links were frequently posted to
other social media platforms. we believe that the relatively limited amount of activity we found as a result of the safeguards we had in advance of the election, google products don't lend themselves to the kind of targeting that these actors seem to prefer. so we are committed to continuing to improve our existing security measures to prevent that kind of abuse. as part of our commitment, we are making our political advertising more transparent, easier for users to understand, and even more secure. in 2018, we will pair that with a library of election and ad content that will be accessible to researchers. going forward, researchers can find the name of any advertiser of any google display network with one plclick by an icon, an we'll make sure users are in
compliance with laws covering election ads. on the topic of extremist content, we have developed programs to make sure the use of our platform to incite violence is more prohibitive. we use a mixture of technology and human review to enforce our guidelines and continue to invest in this approach. we are committed to doing our part and recognize that we must work together across government, civil society, and the private sector to address these complex issues at their root. we hook forward to continuing to work with this committee as it takes on this issue. thank you for your time and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. we'll do five minute rounds and stay as long as necessary. i'll start here. what nations do you worry about other than russia interfering in our elections, anybody come to the top of your head there, mr. stretch?
>> thank you, mr. chairman, for the question. we worry about nation state actors from around the globe. starting in 2014, we stood up a threat intelligence team dedicated primarily to reviewing and monitoring four attacks from threat actors tied to nation states. that work mostly was directed at traditional cyber security, dissemination of stolen information. it's only recently that we've seen this threat evolve into what we were talking about, what i was talking about in my testimony, dissemination of misinformation. in terms of specific countries, it really is a global threat that we think of it, and certainly i would be happy to come back with the committee and provide more details on specific
actors. >> is that the truth with the rest of you? >> it's true with us, as well. as we said in our written testimony, we see a disproportionate amount of spam coming out of russia, b. >> north korea potentially did this? >> certainly potentially. the internet is borderless. >> so let's talk about the time period. you said you started picking up foreign interference two years ago, is that right, mr. stretch? >> we've been tracking threat actors for several years, yes. >> before the 2016 election cycle? >> yes, that's correct. >> did you find activity after the election? >> yes, we did. >> what happened after the election? >> following the election, the
activity we've seen really continued in the sense that if you do the activity as a whole, we saw this concerted effort to sew division and discord. in the wake of the election, and now president trump's election, we saw a lot of activity directed at fomenting discord about the validity of his election. >> so discontinued after his election? >> it continued until we disabled the accounts. >> okay. what about you? >> we saw similar activity. on the advertising side, we saw the activity drop off after the election. but these automated accounts continue, and so we're continuing to focus on making sure that they're removed from our platform. >> the same is true for google. the limited use of our platforms certainly decreased once we
terminated accounts and we would expect that. >> did you see any activity in the primary, mr. stretch? >> the activity that we've now attributed to the internet research agency really started in 2015. and was ongoing through the primary, yes. >> were these ads pro clinton, anti-clinton, or could you tell? >> viewed in the aggregate, the activity, again, really appears to address a wide range of hot button topics and appears directed at fomenting discord and imflaming discourse. >> in terms of volume, how much volume are we talking about? >> about approximately 90% of the volume we saw on the ads side appears to be issues based,
primarily a much smaller proportion were directed at particular candidates. >> in terms of the actual facebook, 1 in 23,000, i don't know, maybe that was another company. >> correct. in terms of the total volume of material on the site, we estimate that the internet research agency content was approximately 0.004% of the content in news feed during the time period in question. so just open this up and i'll come back with a jihadist in round two. russia as a nation state started interfering in the election cycle back in 2015. and they continued after the election. during the election, they were trying to create discord between americans, most of it directed against clinton. after the election, you saw
russian groups and organizations trying to undermine president trump's legitimacy, is that what you saw on facebook? >> i would say that's an accurate statement. >> that's an accurate statement. >> i'm not sure i can characterize on our network which way the content went. >> thank you. >> thank you, chairman. i take it we can all agree that the russians did, in fact, interfere and meddle in the 2016 elections. your observations with that are consistent with what our intelligence community reports, is that correct, mr. stretch? >> that's correct. >> that's correct. >> that's true. >> okay. and i gather that all of your companies have moved beyond any motion that your job is only to provide a platform and whatever goes across it is not your affair. >> senator, our commitment to
addressing this problem is unwavering. we take this very seriously and are committed to investing to prevent this from happening again. absolutely. >> absolutely agree with mr. stretch. this type of activity just creates not only a bad user experience but distrust for the platform so we are committed to working every single day to getting better at this problem. >> we take this very seriously. we've made changes and will continue to get better. >> ultimately, you are american companies and threats to american election security and threats to american peace and order are things that concern yo greatly, correct? >> that is certainly correct. >> i agree. >> that's right. >> what i would like to do, and i don't have the time for it here, is to ask you all to answer a question for the record that i'll ask now, which is, give us the key benchmarks of
how you have improved at dealing with this problem in recent months or years, what your goal posts are ahead that you've not achieved, but you intend to achieve to deal with this problem. that's two. and three would be, what does success look like to you? can you come to us and say, we have accomplished x, and therefore you as a congress don't need to worry about legislating or creating regulations or holding more hearings, because we have got america's back. can you do that for me? >> yes. >> you are all also corporations that have, i believe, headquarters and significant operations in the state of california. california has a state law regarding disclosure. presumably you comply with that state law with regard to customers in california.
are there lessons and recommendations that you would have for us in evaluating the effectiveness of the california disclosure law? and give me just a very, very brief, do you follow that law, and a very brief response to it. and then we can flesh out any question for the record how much of a model that might be for this committee to look at. >> we complied with all applicable law. we made an announcement that drew on some of the ideas from the honest ads act, which senator klobuchar introduced, intended to bring ads transparency really into the political realm, creating a repository of searchable ads, providing ways to enable
advertisers to meet their requirements, and require documentation and information so that we can ensure that add verytizers are not running political ads on facebook in violation of federal election law. >> let me ask what will probably be my last question of this round any way, which is that you are all prepared, as i understand it, to undertake to make sure that you can trace content that goes across your platform that qualifies for concern in this area, back to a legitimate source. so you know if it's a russian who is actually running it, so if it's an imaginary entity that's running it, how do you deal with the problem of a legitimate and lawful but phony american shell corporation, when it calls itself say americans
for puppies and prosperity, has a drop box as its address, and a $50 million check in its bankbook that it is using to spend to manipulate election outcomes. start with mr. edge at this time. >> i think that's a problem. we're continuing to look into how do you get to know your clients. so we are also like mr. stretch says, proud of the work we've done around ads transparency, and we think that kind of center allows the american citizen to be educated who is running and paying for an ad, and what they're targeting. and believe that we'll have to figure out a good process to figure out who the customers are. >> you admit that you trace it all the way back to an american corporation, let's call it americans for puppies and
prosperity, and it's a shell cooperation, and you don't know who's behind it, it could be vladamir putin, a special interest, the north koreans or the iranians. you need to be able to penetrate the obscurity of the shell corporation, correct? >> yeah, we're working on the best approach getting to know the chinlts and the entities signing up for advertising. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thanks to both of the senators for leading this discussion. and thanks to the companies for their cooperation. the press has reported that the russian government placed ads in facebook that were largely aimed at influencing the election. so i want to highlight what i consider an inaccuracy in that reports. the committee is reviewing the ads that facebook produced. overall, the ads do not support a specific candidate, either
republican or democrat, and about half of the ads exploits controversial issues in our country in an e. to furthffort divide us. some ads targeted baltimore and ferguson, and these ads are clearly to worse b racial tensions and possibly violence in those cities. it might be true that these ads were intended to influence the elections, but it's important to be clear that the nature of the ads. russia does not have loyalty to a political party in the united states. their goal is to divide us and discredit our democracy. so question for you, mr. stretch. the ads that facebook has produced are all from internet research agency. what is facebook doing to identify ads and contents placed
by other bad actors? >> thank you, senator, for the question. we are focused broadly on addressing questions about the authenticity around the content placed on our platform. and the investments we're making around transparency sweep across the entire platform. the learning that we gained from the 2016 election and from our expansive investigation into it, now informs the automated tools that we use to detect them or move fake accounts from anywhere. >> has facebook produced all the ads and contents it has located from russian sources that were placed prior to the election, and if facebook has not, will facebook focus on producing those ads? >> yes, senator, we have identified everything. we produced everything that we have identified that is the product of what we call
coordinated inauthentic activity from facebook. and we are continuing to investigate and we exit to keep the committee up to date. >> so that would include all ads placed from ratiussian sources? >> russian sources that are inauthentic. there are many advertisements cross border for legitimate purposes. >> overall, facebook identified more than 3,000 ad purchases worth $100,000 during the 2016 election that had links to russia. russian agents posted ads that reaches millions of users.
google found tens of thousands of ad buys by russian accounts that use youtube or google. russian agents uploaded about 1,000 videos on youtube. so the question to each of you and a short answer on these few questions that i'm going to put together. to each company, starting with mr. stretch, have you completed internal investigations to identify all accounts, advertisements and posts with connections to russia that purchased ads in the lead-up to the 2016 election, and if not, what is the timeline for completion? >> senator, as i stated, the investigation continues.
and we expect to keep the committee up to date on any further discoveries. >> okay. >> same goes for twitter. we are continuing to work with your staff with the relative period. >> for google, the answer is similar. as our investigation commits, we'll keep the committee up to date. >> one that i would like to have you give me answers in writing, could you provide an update on what your internal investigations have found. be specific to the number of accounts and total value of the advertisements. my time is up, mr. chairman. >> thanks, mr. chairman. mr. stretch, we know that russian operatives built misleading pages like black matters u.s., and united muslims
of america to attract facebook users. they then exploited a powerful facebook tool called custom audiences, to track down those users and send them targeted messages. can you explain who was targeted using facebook's custom audiences tool? >> thank you for the question, senator. as a threshold matter, you're correct that much of the content we've seen is essentially imitative of very meaningful social causes of the member of the facebook community. it's what makes this content so vile, so upsetting, so cynical, this attempt to exploit divisions within our society. in terms of the advertising tools used to promote these
pages, that were masquerading essentially, the advertising targeting that was used in the main was a combination of very broad geographic targeting. most of the ads, about 75% was targeted to the united states as a whole. about 25% of the ads were targeted at a more granular level to states. we do believe these tools are powerful and we have a responsibility to make sure they're not used to enflame
division. so we're making a number of changes to our ad targeting policies. we're tightening the restrictions on hate speech in ads generally, we're adding addition allayers of review where people use sensitive categories for targeting. and we're also limiting the ad content permission so that where ads are directed at potentially divisive issues, we're trying to tighten our standards to make sure that they're not targeting individuals or communities. >> thank you. i appreciate that. mr. salgado, why did google give preferred status to russia today, a russia propaganda arm on youtube? >> there was a period of time where russia today qualified really because of algorithms to participate in an advertising program that opened up some
inventory for them, subjective standards around popularity and other criteria to participate in that program. as publishers drop in and out of the program, as things change, and that is the case with r.t., they dropped out of the program. >> why did you -- it took you until september of 2017 to do it. >> the removal of r.t. of the program was a as a result of, as i understand it, was a result of some of the drop in viewership, not any action otherwise. so there was nothing about r.t. or its content that meant that it stayed in or out. >> twitter produced images from tweets that contained false
voting information. example, telling voters they could vote by sending a text message. all targeting likely clinton voters just before the election. twitter determined that it was not in violation of the rules. twitter said there was no obvious russian origin. the posts were removed only after twitter's ceo was directly notified by a twitter user. that's the facts as i understand them. why was this false cop tent allowed to remain in place? >> my understanding is we began to remove it as illegal voter suppression. the interesting thing about the text-to-vote tweets that we shared with your staff was, there was a small amount of tweets relative to the size of the platform. but impressions of tweets calling out those things as fake
were eight times as large. we had ten times -- >> impressions, i don't quite understand. >> thank you for your question. impressions to determine whether or not a tweet has been seen by a user. the interesting thing about the text-to-vote is we saw a complete narrative around them, the twitter community seizing on them to let everyone know they were fake. but twitter did remove them from the platform. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i would like to ask some questions to get at the metrics. for twitter, can you walk us through how many accounts there are, how many users there are, how many are anonymous, how many are fake as a subset of anonymous and purportedly real? >> we have 330 million monthly active users that we just reported a couple of weeks ago.
we estimate that less than 5% of twitter users are potentially false accounts or spam or automated. >> so less than 5%? >> less than 5% overall. >> can you distinguish between fake and automated? because wouldn't there be accounts that real people would run but you would have accounts that are automated but respect fake. >> thank you for letting me distinguish that. we look at it based on whether it looks like there's a human behind it or not. we can't calculate sometimes what someone is pretending to be someone that they're not. we have a policy that allows you to come on and create your own name. it doesn't have to be the one that you have. so we can't trust those metrics
in that instance. >> in political twitter, it looks like there are a bunch of people that have -- they are following 5,000, and they have 5,000 followers and it looks like many of these accounts are the most laughably fake, they're retweeting back and forth at each other. when you evaluate impressions numbers, do you have some way quantifying which impressions are inside the 95% that are real users, and is that how you prioritize trying to figure out where the big problems are? >> we obviously prioritize automated activities. it's a way for malicious actors to get their voice out. our tools are getting better each day to tedetermine what is
malicious and what's not real. so we're working on redoubling our efforts on that regard. >> i want to go to faibl quiceb quickly, but it seems there's difference between verifiable fake things, voter location, voter hours, and things that are narrative base. people with competing world views, some overarching narrative of good versus evil. how do you rank order what you should focus on, and what's the human capital that you have doing this? so russia and china and potentially north korea, iranian examples are straightforward, but in the context of potentially jihadi accounts, that's a whole range of
theological interpretation about people who don't believe in violence, and others think it requires it of them. who are your people that do this work? >> so we prioritize safety and abuse. earlier this year, we repivoted our design teams to dissolve this. we have hundreds and in terms of our entire engineering organization, sometimes thousands. we're a company of 3800 employees. over half of them are focused on this throughout our life cycle. >> sort of understanding the intricacies of jihadi theology is not something an engineer is trying to do. how do you hire for that? >> we have a very respected trust and safety team who has to research these issues around the
world. so we have teams that are researching these issues and trying to distinguish what you're talking about between violent groups and groups that may have some connection to them but are more political armed. we've seen many instances of that. so there are teams that have to understand how these groups are acting at times. but there are teams that research and study these issues and help us implement new policies. >> mr. stretch, i'll save some metrics questions for you after the hearing, but can you tell us about facebook's human capital solution to the same problem? >> yes, thank you, senator, for the question. so today across our safety, security, and product and community operations teams, we have about 10,000 people who are working on safety and security generally and committing to investing more and doubling that number by the end of 2018.
on the question of extremist content generally, you raise an important point. we need to understand the behavior and to have the capacity as a company and industry to track it and eradicate it. so we have thousands of people who as part of their job on a regular basis, are attempting to keep terrorism off of facebook. we have 150 people who do nothing else. that's their job. across that 150 people, they have significant expertise in understanding jihadi threats. we have worked together to make sure we're sharing expertise and providing that information to other smaller companies that may not have the same level of resources. we all agree that terrorism
doesn't have a place on facebook but it has no place on the internet. so we're making sure we're all doing our part to address that threat. the last point is it also requires an ongoing dialogue with the government, because there's a great wealth of information in the government, as it tracks these issues that they can share with us. and that in turn gives me some optimism as we address the question of foreign interference in the election. we know how to work together to address a threat on the internet. but as an industry and working with government, if we bring that same concerted behavior to bear looking at this threat of foreign interference, we'll make some progress. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. stretch, last night 19 major civil rights organizations sent a letter to facebook which explained the "deep concern regarding ads, pages, of hateful content on your platform used to
divide our country and to promote anti-muslim, anti-black, anti-lbgtq an mouse." the reference to a number of examples that have been reported by the media, including a russian facebook account that not only promoted anti-imgrant messaging online, but organized an in-person anti-refugee rally in idaho in august of 2016. it detailed a reported situation in which facebook offered its expertise to a bigoted advocacy group, by testing different video formats and advising how to reach the group's anti-refugee campaign in swing tapes in the final weeks of the 2016 letter. is it true that facebook assisted in an anti-muslim effort in >> thank you for the question. let me start by saying the content that we produced to this
committee, and that was run by you these fake accounts masquerading as real, authentic identities is vile. it was directed at groups that have every reason to expect us to protect the authenticity of debate on facebook. in terms of what we're doing in response, we are reviewing and tightening our ad policies, and there's two particular changes that we're making. one is we are -- we are tightening our content guidelines as they apply to ads with respect to violence. so much of the content that is so disturbing is involved threats of violence towards communities, and that has no
place on facebook and it has no place -- >> regardless of source? >> yes, regardless of source. exactly. we want our ad tools to be used for political discourse, certainly. but we are not -- we do not want our ad tools to be used to enflame and divide. >> i read that set of facts to you. the trigger word was a russian facebook account. what is russia doing promoting anti-immigrant, anti-refugee sentiment in the united states? now take the word "russia" out of it. a facebook page that promotes anti-immigrant, anti-refugee sentiment in the united states. i don't know if you would characterize that as vile. i sure would. when we start with the word russia, fake, trolls, bots, so forth, we know the starting point is the trigger, something
needs to be done. the second thing is if it includes a reference to a political candidate or a party. then it's a category too of electione electioneering. i'll let senator klobuchar address that. how are you going to sort this out consistent with the basic values of this country when it comes to freedom of expression? >> it's a great question. i don't suggest it's easy. we do value personal expression. when that is the purpose of your service, there is going to be content that is objectionable, even beyond objectionable. where we're really trying to draw the line with respect to advertising content and using our tools to promote messages -- >> i'm going to stipulate these are all ads.
they're all ads. they're being purchased to effect an outsome of an election or to mislead voters. i would like to ask your colleagues to address this, as well. what is twitter saying to that question? >> those ads have no place on twitter. and our policies address those things. so if there's inflammatory content that some would find to be upsetting, that's not the type of ad we want running on twitter. advertising to someone who hasn't asked to be part of that conversation, we draw a hard line making sure advertisements aren't inflammatory. >> i certainly agree with that and endorse that, but when it comes to drawing those lines, it's a challenge for us, and we
do it for a living. i think it will be a challenge for you. would you like to comment? >> i agree that it's a real challenge. we have policies to keep our high quality and the proposals we've made and we'll be implementing around i think reflect that, as well. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> gentleman, i'm very proud that the three companies you're representing here today are american companies. and i think you do enormous good. but your power sometimes scares me. umm, mr. stretch, how many advertisers does facebook have? >> we have approximately 5 million advertisers on a monthly basis, senator.
>> did china run ads in last election cycle to try to impact our election? >> not that i'm aware of, senator. >> not that you're aware of? did turkminstan? >> no, senator. >> how about north korea? >> i'm not aware of other foreign actors running the -- >> how could you be aware? i mean, this is -- you've got 5 million advertisers? and you're going to tell me that you're able to trace the origin of all those advertisements? if i want to hire a lawyer, if i wanted to hire you when you were in private practice and say let's go through about four shell corporations, because i
want to hide my identity. you're telling me you have the ability to go to trace through all of these corporations and find the true identity of every one of your advertisers. you're not telling me that, are you? >> senator, the commitment we are making -- >> i'm just asking about your ability. not commitment. can you do it today? >> we're not able to see beyond the activity we see on the platform. but the technical signals that we get from an account, we do think that the technical signals we see can be used to help us identify inauthentic behavior. >> the truth of the matter is, you have 5 million advertisers that change every month, every minute, probably every second. you don't have the ability to know who every one of those
advertisers is, do you? today, right now, not your commitment, but i'm asking about your ability. >> to your question about being essentially behind the are shell corporations, of course the answer is no. we not see behind the activity. >> let me ask you something else. if i came to you -- i don't mean to just pick on you. but i don't have all time to do all three of you. so you gentlemen get to skate. if i came to you and said look, i want to buy an ad that everybody sees on facebook. that's going to be cost prohibitive. can we agree on that? >> that's likely the case, senator, yes. >> so i've got to narrow it down. and you can help me narrow down. because that's your business model. you collect data and lease it out to companies who use that data to sell people products,
services and candidates. isn't that basically your business model? >> senator, we do provide targeted advertising. we don't actually share the data of individuals with them. >> do you have a profile on me? >> senator, if you're a facebook user, we would permit you to be targeted with an advertisement based on your characteristics and your likes along with other people who share similar characteristics and likes. >> let's suppose your ceo came to you -- not you, but somebody who could do it in your company. maybe you could. and said i want to know everything we can find out about senator graham. i want to know the movies he likes. i want to know the bars he goes to. i want to know who his friends are. i want to know what schools he went to. you could do that, couldn't you? >> so -- it is a very good question. >> you can do that, though, can't you? >> the answer is absolutely not.
we have limitations in place on our ability to review the personal information. >> i'm not talking about your rules. i'm saying you have the ability to do that, don't you? >> again, senator, the answer is no. we're not -- we're not able -- >> you can't put a name to a face to a piece of data? you're telling me that? >> so we have designed our systems to prevent exactly that to protect the users. >> i understand. you can get around that to find that identity, can't you? >> no, senator, i cannot. >> that's your testimony under oath? >> yes, it is. so -- i'm about out of time. i'm going to take one more minute, or one more 30 seconds. are you a media -- let me ask goingle this to be fair. are you a needle company or a neutral technology platform? >> we're a technology
platform -- >> you don't think you're the largest newspaper in 92 countries? >> we're not a newspaper. we're a platform for sharing of information that can include news from sources such as newspapers. >> isn't that what newspapers do? >> this is a platform from which news can be read from news sources. >> i'm way over. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator klobuchar? >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i'm not going to ask what bar you go to. don't be concerned. and thank you to both of you for this important hearing. so i come at this just with this simple idea that our democracy was formed to be self-governing. and that means we don't want foreign entities influencing decisions that our citizens make. and they have a right -- a right of freedom to make their own decisions. and i think that was interfered with by influence by russians and also by others when there is
no rules in place to tell us about where these ads, paid ads are coming from. and so i do appreciate the efforts from these companies, but i don't think it's enough. we're going to have a patchwork of ads from different companies. some won't be doing any. some will be do one thing. another will be doing another. and we wouldn't have actual enforcement. management can change and decisions changes. that's why i think it's very important that we have the same rules of the road for these issue ads as well as candidate ads that we have for tv, radio, and print. it's that simple. and that is the bill that senator warner and i have and that senator mccain is our co-sponsor. and we're very pleased with that. and he looks at this as a national security issue. so my first question is simply will you support our bill? mr. stretch? >> thank you, senator, for the question.
so, first, we're not waiting for legislation. as i explained earlier. >> but if you could answer that, if you will support our bill? and if not, why not? >> we've drawn on much of what is in the bill, to inform our announcement on friday related to ads transparency and disclosure obligations. and we stand ready to work with you and your co-sponsors on that legislation going forward. >> the same goes for twitter. >> yeah, we certainly support the goals of the legislation and would like to work through the knew answ nuances to make it work for all of us. >> just to clarify, while you are taking responsibility for a lot of what's happened here and trying to make some changes, there wouldn't be an outside enforcer of any of your policies, right? it will just be you? is that true? not you personally, but your companies. can someone answer? >> that's correct.
>> and also, no one has said yet that they will include issue ads, right? and that's what we've just heard from mr. stretch. 90% of the russian paid political ads were issue ads. and as you know, somehow the radio station in thief river falls, minnesota, is able to figure out what an issue ad is under the federal guidelines. and i would just hope that your companies can do that. because the way our election system works is that campaigns are able to see each other's ads, and also the journalists and the public are able to see the ads. so that has been a stumbling block so far. is this a problem that you're not going to be able to figure out those rules like tv broadcast and radio? and i'm just trying to understand that. >> so as we announced last week, su ads are 2.0 or next version for us, and something we're thinking hard about how to operationalize and what rules to put around it to determine what
is an issue ad on a platform like ours, versus what is an ad unrelated to an election. so we're thinking hard than. we don't have anything to announce today. but we're hoping to announce something soon. >> okay, mr. stretch? anyone want to add anything on that? we have had clarification on this. it's fcc clarification. encompasses political issues that are the subject of continuing controversy or discussion at the national level, national debt, defense. and we haven't -- people see ads all the time on energy. they see ads on immigration policy, on all kinds of things. and they're able to just simply we see disclaimers who have is paying for them. and we know where they're running. and that's what we're trying to get at here. as brilliant as your companies are, and they're incredibly brilliant, and they have employed so many people we happen to be that if you make these things public, which is the goals of your companies is to share information, you're going to have other sets of eyes that are able to look at those ads. so i want you to look at it from that perspective.
i had one question, mr. stretch, and that is you appreciated that guys put out that there that 126 million people had access to the russian ads? and were those originally paid ads and then they got shared and liked and went through the system? how did that work? >> thank you, senator. there is really two categories of content. there were ads, about 3,000 of them that appeared -- >> this is the paid for by rubles ads? >> many of them were paid for by rubles. >> are there other ads that the russian mace have run that weren't paid for by rubles? >> i believe the content you're referring to is what we think of as organic content. the ads were used to essentially drive followership of pages, and then pages themselves post unpaid content that people who have followed the page are eligible to see. and the 126 million number
refers to the latter. it refers to the unpaid or organic posts over the approximately two-year period that these pages were taye. >> we need to move on, my colleagues. isn't it often the case, though, that candidates or issue groups will get organic looking ad. it doesn't have a disclaimer on it, and then they boost it. they pay. so they're really doing a paid ad. but on tv you would know it's a paid ad, but not on your platform? >> it's a great question, senator. everything that's boosted or promoted in that way is designated as sponsored today. and that's the case. so it would have shown up as sponsored if it was paid, regardless of whether it related to an candidate or an issue. what we're doing going forward would capture that in the sense that we are creating a transparency mechanism for all pages. you go to the page, and you can see every single ad that's running. >> right now you're just doing candidate ads, and not the issues ads. and 90% of the ads the russians
bought were issue. >> with respect to what a user could see if they navigate to the page. that would see all of them. every single ad from every single advertiser. so it does sweep much more broadly than that. and we are also focused on making sure that in the political space, if there are disclosure obligations for the advertiser that relate to issue ads, as you've described, we're going to enable that. so the innovative ways we're working on to make sure that candidate can satisfy their obligations. >> we'll revisit this on a second round. obviously it would be easier if everyone had the same rules, and we would all know. thank you. >> thank you. thank you for holding the hearing. thank you for your testimony. and i'm sorry if i'm plowing old ground here. i missed the first part of it. with regard to threat detection, just to find out what's out there, i believe facebook, you have algorithms that do the first run and humans that it
kicks to a set of humans to look at. and i understand that you've increased the number of humans who do look at these kind of things. can you explain the process that you have? >> thank you, senator. it is certainly true that in ensuring the security of the site, we rely on systems and people. we have invested and we are investing heavily on both fronts. with respect the sort of what i'll call the particularized threat actors that are typically associated with nation states, that's a highly manual process. so we will, for example, have a threat indicator that we're tracking. and then if we see activity, that's really a highly intensive manual effort to police and try to understand the activity and essentially fan out from there. the systems are quite effective
at identifying more, call it run of the mind abusive behavior. so fake accounts that are springing up quickly with the purpose of spreading spam can be recognized by our systems, usually pretty readily and disabled without that sort of human intervention. >> what's twitter's policy there? how does that differ? same kind of thing? algorithms and kicks it to a human set? >> that's right. we're very focused on the behavior of the account. a lot of the signals we can see behind the public facing platform. so we look at activity like mr. stretch said that looks very apparent, very opposite of what a natural person would be doing, signing up for a lot of accounts within seconds, linebacking or retweeting a lot of things within seconds. and that's where we can identify a lot of this automated activity and take it off our platform. >> the same is true.
the desire to move as much of this as we can because of the scale we operate at to machine learning. over time it gets smarter. we get new signals. we educate the automated portion of the process so that it's faster and higher quality. but we always have human review on the other side of it to handle the issues that are novel or where there is some gray area. >> obviously you have undertaken these means without -- all three of you without government telling you have to do it. is there a business model that says let's take care of this? is it in your economic interests to take care of this? starting with facebook. >> senator, we believe that authenticity is really a cornerstone of what we do in presenting the platform from being used for abuse sour responsibility. and we're committed to meeting that responsibility. >> twitter? >> absolutely the same at twitter. we believe that we shouldn't have automated malicious actors
on the platform. it's a bad experience for the user if you ask about the business case. and we want to be known as a platform for promoting debate and discussion and having interferences of automated accounts is not something that we want on twitter. >> yeah, the philosophy for google is that if it weren't an ethical and moral imperative, which it, it's certainly a business imperative. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, chairman graham and ranking member whitehouse. and i'd like to thank our three witnesses for joining us today. i think what you've presented today is truly troubling evidence of the scope and reach of russia's interference in our last election and the ways in which americans who typically expect to know when they're consuming a political advertisement were mislead. and what are very troubling, slow halting steps by your
otherwise compelling and innovative companies to come forward and to work with us and to help us understand the scope and consequence of this. mr. stretch, let me start if i could with a political ad from facebook. this is an ad that was run on facebook in may of 2016. a key moment in the primary campaigns of both hillary clinton and donald trump when both were closing in on the nomination. a group that claimed to be heart of texas, you can see int the upper left, but was in fact paid for by russians in rubles used this ad to target americans based on their professed characteristics, like an interest in patriotism or supporting veterans. the ad claims that hillary clinton is, quote, only one politician except barack obama who is despised by the overwhelming majority of american veterans. and it says if clinton were elected president, the, quote, army should be withdrawn from her control according to the amendments of the constitution. this ad is nothing short of the russian government directly
interfering in our elections, lying to american citizens, duping folks who believe they are joining in supporting a group that is about veterans and based in texas when in fact it's paid for in rubles by russians. should facebook be allowed to be a platform that foreign adversaries can use to run political ads, sir? >> senator, that advertisement has no place on facebook. and we are committed to preventing that sort of behavior from occurring again on our platform. it's something we take incredibly seriously. i think you're right to surface it. it's upsetting. it makes me angry. it makes everybody who works at the company angry. when i said we are doubling our teams from 10,000 to 20,000 in order to address safety and security on facebook, that's exactly the sort of thing i'm talking about. >> mr. stretch, thank you for that answer. let me show you another example there has been a lot of
attention on ads. but i think we also ought to focus on events. russians also used facebook to make up and promote political events. a group called being patriotic -- see the upper left -- shared their event, a mi miners for trump rally in pennsylvania. but in fact it was political fraud, organized and supported by russians. russians trying to influence our election duped americans in pennsylvania into coming to an event that was nothing but a fake. help me understand, if i might, mr. stretch. you've said that these things are violent, upsetting and cynical, and that you take responsibility for changing. yet i'm concerned that we are now nearly a year after the election. ten months after the election, september 6th, facebook acknowledged $100,000 of ads
were bought by a russian company linked to the kremlin amounting to about 3,000 ads. but if i understand your testimony here today, it's that 80,000 posts by the russian-linked internet research agency were seen by 29 million americans and may have reached an estimated 126 million people. why has it taken facebook 11 months to come forward and help us understand the scope of this problem, see it clearly for the problem it is, and begin to work in a responsible legislative way to address it when former president obama cautioned your ceo literally nine days after the election last november that this was a big problem and facebook needed to come forward? >> thank you, senator. i appreciate the question. one clarification. when president obama and mr. zuckerberg met and spoke, they were speaking about fake news generally. there was no discussion of foreign interference. but i think your larger point
around our efforts to investigate and understand what we now see as a sophisticated and systemic effort to interfere in the election is one i do want the address. we actually published a white paper in april of 2017 that detailed our findings to that point. when the office of the director of national intelligence issued its assessment in january, we weren't sitting around. our threat intelligence team, which i had -- which i mentioned earlier, had been looking at what we could learn from the 2016 election. and on the basis of that asisment, which we saw in january, started looking hard at the effort of disinformation on facebook, and identified a number of practices that we thought would be helpful for the industry to be aware of and for the public to be aware of. so we publicly issued that white paper in april. now, as you roll the clock forward, and we continued our investigation, we did further
analysis. and we did then discover the ads associated with the internet research agency. and at that moment, we brought those -- we brought those advertisements and our learns to congress. we issued a public blog post telling the public what we had found, and we committed to continuing our investigation and continuing to commitment to share what we learned with congress. and i'd like to make one different point, if i may. on that content that you've exhibited, what to me is so interesting than is it reflects the sophistication in my view of what we're dealing with. so this is not just an online attack. this is an online attack that affects multiple companies, multiple platforms, and it's also paired to offline activity. this is a national security issue, and it's one that we are taking very seriously. i know my colleagues here are taking very seriously. and we do need to work together to make sure we understand the scope of the threat.
and we need to continue to work with law enforcement to make sure we're sharing information and expertise to really address this thoroughly. >> i appreciate your response to my questions. and i am grateful to senators graham and whitehouse for today's hearing. to senator klobuchar for her leadership in putting forward legislation to try and tackle this significant challenge. but, gentlemen, i wish we had the executives of your three companies before us today, and i look forward to hearing in more concrete ways the steps your organizations are taking to address these very real threats to our democracy. thank you. >> for members' information, i think there are two votes. one just started. so we're just going to keep marching on here and just take turns voting. and senator cruz? >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome. i appreciate each of you coming and testifying today. you know, i recognize that a lot of folks in the media are -- and even some members of this committee are praising your
companies for taking active steps to police some of the content on your sites. but i have to note that doing so raises troublesome concerns at the same time. particularly given the percentage of news and political information that americans receive online through social media or through other online avenues. the pros tepect of silicon vall companies actively censoring the speech or the news content is troubling to anyone who cares about a democratic process with a robust first amendment. take one example, which is google.
in december of 2015, a professor at northwestern university conducted a study analyzing google search results. he searched for the names of all 16 presidential candidates at the time and discovered that democrats on average had seven favorable search results among google's top ten, and republican candidates had 5.9 positive articles. and indeed, of the major candidates at the time, hillary clinton had five positive search results and only one negative on the first page. donald trump had four positive and three negative search results on the first page. bernie sanders had nine positive results without a single negative result on the first page. and a final candidate, the junior senator from texas, had a total of zero positive results on the first page. you may well have been citing my colleague from minnesota on that page.
>> that is outrageous. >> i will note, i will say if there were a franken filter, that might be popular. that same professional ran a second study and found the vast majority of news outlets that were represented in google searches were left leaning. it's not just google. in 2016 it was revealed that facebook was, quote, cure rating the list of trending news stories on their website. according to reports, facebook workers were artificially spiking conservative stories, including stories about former irs official lois lerner, former navy s.e.a.l. chris kyle and positive stories about conservative politicians. the reports also reveal that stories by conservative outlet likes "the washington examiner" and news max that were popular enough to be picked up by
facebook's trending stories algorithm were nonetheless excluded until "the new york times" and cnn began covering the same stories. just last month, twitter barred representative marsha blackburn from advertising her campaign launch video because it deemed a line about her efforts to investigate planned parenthood to be inflammatory. susan b. anthony list recently had a video advertisement against a political candidate blocked on twitter because it referred to partial birth abortion as being akin to infanticide. now that -- those are all political positions that people can take in our democratic society. but it is disconcerting if those political positions become a lens through which the american consumers consume news.
so i want to ask each of you, do you consider your sites, mr. edgett and mr. stretch, to be neutral public fora? >> senator, we think of facebook as a platform for all ideas. and we have boundaries in the sense that we don't permit certain categories of content such as hate speech. but within those guidelines, we do not in any way discriminate on the basis of viewpoint or ideology. >> so i'm just trying to understand, that a yes or no whether you consider yourself to be a neutral public forum? >> we don't think of it in the terms of neutral because what we're trying to do actually is provide each user a personalized news feed that will be the content that's most interesting to that user. but we do think of ourselves as,
again, within the boundaries that i described, open to all ideas without regard to viewpoint or ideology. >> mr. edgett, same question? >> free expression and free speech sat the core of the twitter mission. and we do everything we can to enable that. obviously balancing things like mr. stretch said against violence, violent threats, or abuse and harassment. we believe that allowing the public an open platform is one is open to debate and discussion. >> and if i can ask my final question. i'm at the end of my time. >> mr. chairman, i'm not going to object. but i would note, mr. chairman, you and i are the only two who have sat through all of this today. and i would like to have a chance to ask a question -- >> you will. >> before we vote. >> of course i'll let senator cruz go ahead. >> how do both you have respond to the public concerns and growing concerns that your
respective company and other silicon valley companies are putting a thumb on the scale of political debate and shifting it in ways consistent with the political views of your employees? >> senator, again, we -- we think of ourselves as a platform of all -- for all ideas. and we aspire to that. we are acutely aware of the possibility of unconscious bias across a range of issues, not just politics. and we train our employees on that for that precise reason. we want to make sure that people's own biases are not brought to bear in how we manage the platform. >> at twitter we're spending a lot of time training employees who are looking at user reports on organic tweets. we have stricter policies around advertisements. the one you referenced is an example of that where sense we are serving those ads to folks who aren't following the accounts and haven't asked to see the content, we want to make
sure it's always a positive experience. but even there we're making tough calls and learning from mistakes and revising policies and procedures going forward. but our goal and one of our fundamental principles at the company is to remain impartial. >> thank you. >> chairman, you and i are the only two who have sat through all of this. i must admit i'm -- with all due respect to all of your companies, i hear a lot of johnny-come-latelies. there is a lot i think you could have done earlier. i suspect that you're advertising -- once the profits go up. and i wish you had spent some of those profits earlier looking at what the content was. and i do know we have to be very careful not to be censors. but i'll start with you, mr. stretch. we know that an estimated 126
million people were exposed to misinformation posted by russia's internet research agency on facebook. the vast majority of this was not associated advertisement. it was free russian propaganda that has spread like wildfire. now let me show you. these, these strongly resemble pages you have already linked to russia. at minimum, these pages are inflammatory. when i mention johnny come lately, these were on today, today. and it's a problem. now, can you tell me with certainty that none of these pages were created by russian-linked organizations?
they're very similar to some we've seen before. >> senator, i can tell you with absolute certainty that none of them are linked to the accounts that we identified as coordinated inauthentic activity because we've removed all of that, all of those accounts from our site. >> pretty similar to some of them. >> the core problem with the accounts we identified was a lack of authenticity. so it wasn't so much the content, although to be clear, much of that content is offensive and has no place on facebook. but the real problem with what we saw was its lack of authenticity, the fact that it came from fake accounts masquerading as authentic individuals on facebook. we would have to look at this content to understand if it suffered from the same, or if
the accounts associated with that content to understand if it was the same sort of activity. >> another thing. we have -- in virginia we have a governor's race, one candidate running on a pledge to protect. and in alabama we have a candidate reportedly being called gay, detestable, said muslims should not be allowed to serve in congress. now these seem like the kind of things that could be exploited, just as the russians did with the 2016 presidential election. is there any indication the russians are doing that now on these two races? >> senator, we have not seen evidence of that in connection with those two races. i will say that -- >> are you looking for it? >> absolutely. we are focused on addressing
this behavior going forward, not just in connection with those two races, but throughout the country and indeed around the world. each time there is an election, we face a challenge and a responsibility to ensure that the platform is not used for abuse. and we're investing heavily to make sure we meet that challenge. >> let me -- let me ask about that. facebook's fastest growing markets are in the developing world. now there consequences running fake or divisive information can be dire, not just to election. it's people's lives. for example, facebook is being used today as a breeding ground for hate speech against rohingya refugees in myanmar. these are especially vulnerable people. they're being violently persecuted. the leadership in that country is not doing a darn thing, even
though it includes nobel peace prize recipient, not doing a darn thing to stop this persecution. in cambodia, the augthoritarian government is exploiting social media to smear dissidents. what you doing -- you're increasingly monetizing information from users in the developing world, and you have an excellent right to do that. but what are you doing to make sure that it's not used to undermine nascent democracies, especially in the undermining is not losing votes, it's losing lives? >> senator, thank you for the question. it's really an excellent point and a very challenging topic, as anyone who has followed the news is aware. the tragedy that is unfolding in myanmar is horrifying.
we view our platform in that sense as a -- as a vehicle for providing greater visibility into what's going on around the world, and greater visibility into human rights abuses. now we do have an obligation to make sure that it is not misused. >> i understand. we're talking about lives. >> i -- senator -- >> myanmar is an example. and cambodia. >> i don't disagree. and we have teams with language competence who are working with local organizations to understand the particular challenges associated with operating in those regions. and to make sure we get it right. we do believe we have a trolley play in raising visibility, but at the same time not to be used as a tool, for example, to foment hatred or glorify violence in any way. >> you understand our concern. russia's internet research agency set up a fake twitter
account, said they were the tennessee republican party. they sent out a stream of fake claims including allegations of voter fraud. people knew it was, and yet it was retweeted by kellyanne conway, donald trump jr. and even president trump last month, even though everybody knew it was fake, this is what happens. it is frustrating. i don't say that as a democrat. i say that as an american. i say it as one who has visited countries around the world, trying to protect the right to vote. and then we see russians coming here. so speaking of voting, i will now go and vote. but please understand you have -- i admire what you've been able to do in reaching people. but you have a great responsibility. not only can an election be
swayed this way by people who don't -- are not favorable to the united states, but people can die. so thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. blumenthal? >> thank you. thank you to our chairpeople, chairman graham and chairman whitehouse for holding this hearing. and thanks to each of you for being here today. we don't need to lecture you on your social responsibility. i'm convince you'd are well aware of it. and i'm also convinced that you understand the perniciously maligned effects of abuses such as we've shown you, and you've provided to us. in fact, they are a cancer on our democracy and they will metastasize into distortions of our democratic process, unless we throttle them by disclosure. in this realm, the cure for
untruth is in fact more truth and disclosure. that's why i've joined the bill that's been offered by senators klobuchar and warner, but also am crafting my own bill to provide for even broader disclosure, not limited to the political realm because just as you've said, the internet is borderless. it is also largely anonymous. and it is ill-defined in terms of subject matter. so i want to first show you something that i find maybe most kind of reprehensible sign of what can go wrong. and it is from twitter provided to us.
. it shows in effect a deliberate misleading to people that they can vote in effect online. and my question to you is using this celebrity's image, aseize ansari who is well-known to the group that knows him they avoided when in fact their votes completely negate. do you know how many people voted in quotes in this way, thought they voted but in fact were fooled? >> we aren't able to quantify that but what we were able to see before we took down this and all other tweets like it as illegal voter suppression on our platform, and we provided all of
those tweets to the committee's staff is there is an outpouring of tweets refuting these tweets as being false. and illegal voter suppression. we saw eight times as many tweets seen on the refuting tweets. we saw ten times as many users retweeting tweets that warned other voters. >> but there is no question in your mind that this kind of image is voter suppression. by the way, i have 20, 30, 40 of them. so there may have been people discounting them. but at the same time, they kept reappearing. and you're telling us you have no way of knowing how many voters in effect wasted their efforts believing this false image, correct? >> we were focused on removing the content as quickly as -- >> but you can't tell us. can you do the research to tell us? >> i'm not sure we're able to
link -- kirks you commit that you will try? >> we will absolutely get your staff all the information we can. >> thank you there is an area that we haven't covered. and if we still have senator coons' image from the heart of texas. >> it's been taken away. >> it has been taken away i'm told. so we can do without the image. let me ask you, mr. stretch, that post or ad, whatever you call it was in fact target and to audience, correct? >> so each of the posts was targeted to an audience. i confess i'm not sure precisely which one you're referring to. >> the one that had the image f of -- it's this one. it had an image of a soldier, and it referred to hillary clinton has a 69% disapproval
rate among veterans. you'll recall. >> i'm familiar with it, yes, thank you. >> this ad, among many others was provided to our committee. i've been through a lot or most or perhaps all of the ads. and what struck me is not just the ads and how misleading they are, and you use the word sophisticated. absolutely right. these ads are sophisticated in their malignant distortion. but they're also targeted. in fact, the information that you provided us indicates this ad was targeted at people in the state of texas, 18-65 years old. it had various other characteristics, interests, independence or patriotism. that's true of most of the ads that you provided us. they have indicia of targeting,
which also was extremely sophisticated, correct? >> certainly the interest-based targeting appeared to reflect an understanding of the type of audience these actors were trying to reach. >> there is a professional activity that helps target ads, correct? >> there are -- there are certainly many companies and individuals who work on targeting digital media, yes. >> do you know who helped the internet research agency in doing this targeting? >> senator, we're not able to essentially see behind the accounts. all we can see is the activity that is on our platform. >> so it could have been a political campaign that provided this information about targeting? >> as i say, we're not able to see behind the accounts. all we essentially get is the targeting information, which we've provided to the committee.
>> let me request that you endeavor as best you can with the research available to you to give us information about how the internet research agency and any other russian sponsored activity were able to target these ads to specific groups, individuals, geographic areas, demographic and age groups. thank you. >> senator franken? >> thank you, ranking member and the chair for holding this. we've been looking at the russian attack on our democracy, been questioning government officials past and present and campaign people for the trump campaign. but now this is -- the extent to which the russians exploited your platforms is bringing the question in, you know, maybe this isn't something -- this
isn't something just the government has to do this. is something that you guys have to -- have to deal with and fix. and you are kind of the canary in the coal mine in 2016. and at the same time, russia was conducting cyberespionage against american political organizations, they deployed this propaganda program on your platforms, in some case paying for it in rubles. so i want to understand why no one seems to have caught -- caught on to the russian effort earlier. mr. stretch, how did facebook, which prides itself on being able to process billions of data points and instantly transform them into personal connections for its user somehow not make
the connection that electoral ads paid for in rubles were coming from russia? those are two data points. american political ads and russian money, rubles. how could you not connect those two dots? >> senator, you mentioned one aspect of the russian threat that was so visible in 2016, which was the question of account compromised stealing contents, and disseminating them. and that's a threat our security team was intensely focused on. and we think effectively addressed. i think in hindsight, we should have had a broader lens. there were signals we missed. and we are now focused --
>> okay. people are buying ads on your platform with rubles. they're political ads. you put billions of data points together all the time. that's what i hear that these platforms do. the most sophisticated things invented by man ever. google has all knowledge that man has ever developed. you can't put together rubles with a political ad and go hmm, those two data points spell out something bad. >> senator, it's a signal we should have been alert to and in hindsight, it's one we missed. >> okay, okay. yeah. will facebook commit not to accepting political ads paid for with foreign money in the future? say with rubles or the north
korean wan? if a political ad with a wan is paid for with a north korean wan, will you pledge not to put it on? >> senator, our goal is to require all political advertisers regardless of currency to provide documentation information demonstrating that they're authorized to advertise. the currency signal i understand your point. it's a signal we should have missed -- >> no, you can't say no to that. you can't say no to that. >> it's very easy -- >> please answer yes or no, sir. i'm asking you a question. just answer yes or no. can you do that? you're sophisticated. you're the chief legal counsel for facebook. please answer yes or no. >> i can tell you that we're not going to permit advertising to permit political advertising by foreign actors. the reason i'm hesitating on foreign currency is that it's
relatively easy for bad actors to switch currency. so it's a signal, but it's not enough. we have to sweep more broadly. >> why would anyone use the north korean wan? why would a bad actor go i'm going to trick facebook. i'm going to use the north korean wan. >> senator, our goal is to make sure we're addressing all forms of abuse. >> my goal is for you to think through this stuff a little bit better. can i have a little bit more time? well, senator hirono, you're next. >> thank you. since all of you commit to doing better, do you have -- do each of you have a mission statement regarding your commitment to prevent the use of your platforms to promote, as mr. stretch describes it, to prevent the promotion of discordant or
fomenting of discord? is there some statement that you can tell us that says okay, we're committed that this is not going to happen again? mr. stretch? we'll start with you. >> so our mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. our policies prohibit hate speech of all kinds, as well as other forms of bullying and harassment. >> well, one thing that you said, mr. stretch, in response to one of the other questions was you said authenticity is our responsibility. i kind of like that as a mission statement for all three of your companies. authenticity. >> at facebook we do require people to use the service by the name they're known by. and we believe that's a very important part of the service facebook offers. it is to us the cornerstone of
authentic dialogue. we want to make sure people when they come to facebook can trust the content they see. and it is our responsibility to make sure that we're enforcing that by policing bad actors who are using inauthentic accounts. >> or a simple mission statement like you can trust our platform. so to mr. edgett or mr. salgado, do you have a mission statement with regard to this particular concern that we are addressing in the hearing today? >> one of our underlying missions is to help unite and inform. and obviously the type of activity we're talking about today is intended to divide. so we're working very hard on this. we have a policy around anonymity to allow free speech and expression, especially in nor difficult parts of the world to enable political dissidents or embedded journalists or human rights activists to take on a different persona to speak truth
to powerful individuals. so we're always trying to balance that with the ability to make sure that we're not trying to divide through political or state sponsored acts like we're talking about today. >> well, i'll let mr. salgado also respond. briefly. >> sure, briefly. well, absolutely. and we've just put out a public statement i think it was even yesterday about wanting to do better in this area and being committed to do so, and sending out some specific steps. >> yes. we are very interested in the specific steps. mr. stretch, you said that there are 150 people at facebook just focused on the content of the -- the content of what's on your platform. how many people do you have, mr. edgett at twitter to concentrate on the content and ferreting out the kind of content that would be deemed unacceptable,
divisive? i realize there are a lot of first amendment complicated issues. but how many people do you have? >> we harness the power of both technology algorithms, machine learning to help us and also a large team of people that we call our trust and safety team and our user services team. it's hundreds of people. we're at a different scale than facebook and google, obviously. but we're dedicating a lot of resource to make sure that we're looking at user reports about activity on the platform that they think is violent or activity on the platform that they think is illegal and prioritizing that accordingly. >> so you have fewer people than facebook. facebook has 150. you said hundreds. >> no, we have hundreds across user services and trust and safety looking at issues of content on the platform. >> what about you? >> google has thousands of people. there is many different products and different teams work on them. but internally we'll have thousands of people working on them. we also get a good deal of leads on content that we need to review for whether it's
appropriate or not that come from outside the company as well. >> you have thousands of people just focused on the content? >> on various types of content. >> that mr. stretch indicated he has at facebook? you have thousands of people dedicated? >> we have thousands of people dedicated to make sure the content across our -- remember, google has many different properties within it. but yes, the answer is we have thousands that look at content that has been reported to us as inappropriate. >> so in view of that, mr. stretch, do you think 150 people is enough people? >> senator, to be clear, the 150 people i mentioned earlier is people whose full-time job is focused on addressing terrorism content on facebook. in terms of addressing content on the cytogen site generally, thousands. indeed, we have an operations team we announced earlier this year that we were going to be
adding additional thousands to the several thousands that are already working on this problem every day. >> i think it's pretty clear that this is a whole new sort of use or misuse of your platform. and you may have various way as to address terrorist content. but this is a whole another thing. i do have -- hmm. may i ask one more question? this is a short one, for mr. stretch. because you indicated that there were 126 million people who saw the content associated with the research internet agency. and that may be the tip of the iceberg because that was just from one source and there may be plenty of other dark sources out there. in an election where a total of about 115,000 votes would have changed the outcome, can you say the false and misleading propaganda that people saw on your facebook didn't have an impact on the election? can you say that it didn't have an impact on the election? >> senator, we're not well
positioned to judge why anyone person or an entire electorate voted as it did. the content that we've provided to the committee was a very small fraction, 0.004% of the content that was served in the united states over the period in question. the point i do want the emphasize is any amount however small a fraction facebook. and it's why we're investigating to address this going forward. >> to say that this kind of content did not have an affect on our election outcomes. thank you. >> chairman graham authorized a second round of three minutes, if you guys are good to continue, then i'll turn to senator klobuchar for three minutes. >> thank you very much. i had a follow-up question actually about voter suppression efforts. and mr. edgett, we appreciate the ads that we saw, and we'd like to see all of them, of course. but some of the ads has been
discussed contained misinformation telling voters they could vote online. which of course wasn't true. in fact, here is one of them, targeted of course, telling people that they could just text hillary to that number, and that's how they vote. and i mean, you have clearly stated this would be wrong. in fact, illegal, right? >> that's right. we took these down as illegal voter suppression. >> right. and i appreciate that you did that. and you said there were more people online that called them out those kinds of things. i just want people to understand what this is. efforts like this are actually criminal. they're illegal. i'm not talking about your company here. i'm talking about people that are running these kinds of ads. i was thinking back to new hampshire where some of their people there had actually engaged in activity where they shut down a line so people couldn't get people to the polls, right? it was voter suppression. >> right. >> the people that did, that one of them went to jail.
three people got charged with crimes. and so my point here is that these kinds of ads, how serious this is. this is voter suppression. it is actually illegal to do this. it is criminal. and i say it so that people understand why we need to have another kind of law uin place which is to police this conduct so that we don't have these kinds of things going on that are so very serious. and that's why senator mccain and senator warner and i have come together. so, thank you. mr. salgado, i just have a remaining minute here. our intelligence agencies have reported that the kremlin is spending nearly $200 million a year, or that they had done that spreading propaganda through outlets like r.t. in the lead-up to the election, president putin of russian sought to delegitimize the u.s. electoral system by intensifying critical coverage on r.t. r.t. is one of the most popular channels on youtube, that right?
>> yeah, it is a popular channel on youtube, yes. >> so youtube provides a share of the advertising money that it makes on popular channels to the sponsors of those channels. and there is actually these google calculators that can help estimate potential earnings based on page impressions. the more click, the more money is made. it safe to say here then that they make a significant amount of money in shared ad revenue from you? is google actually paying this kremlin-owned entity? >> i think r.t. is making money on ad revenues through their youtube channel. that would be my understanding. >> do you actually pay them? is google paying them? >> i'm not sure exactly how the money flow goes. but the -- we would certainly be involved in the -- in the renumeration to the youtube channels. >> okay. well, that sounds like you're paying them. >> it -- it may be.
the only reason i'm hedging is i don't know exactly the financial flow. >> okay. so we'll follow up in writing. >> that's fine, yes. >> okay, thank you. >> a couple of final i hope very quick questions. one for mr. edgett. to both thec that senator klobuchar just showed you and the one that senator coons -- or maybe it was senator blumenthal with aziz ansari on it. >> right. tell how many people texted t instruction. youo don't know what other behavior they engaged in but you would know that and who tweeted clinton cane with the #presidential election on november 8th between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. >> we would know the second one but we wouldn't be able to tell whether someone picked up their phone and texted that number. >> so the second one you can get to us. and there's been a bit of an atmosphere here that in terms of
small dollar numbers, it's not such a big deal because you have such big platforms. vice news talked to an owner of a facebook page who uses ads to boost content. he controlled pages with 8 million likes and he was able to push out content that could hit pretty seriousmb numbers. quote a few advertising dollars, one april video receives over 450,000 shares. spreading so pervasively that donald trump's official facebook shared it two days later end quote. would you agree the percentage share of your revenues is not particularly relevant in terms of the harm to the public? >> senator, we're trying to provide facts, the information we know about our investigation and we leave it to you and your
investigators with visibility tt a number of different sources to draw thehe conclusions you will. >> i just u urge you to stop making the argument that because it's abe small number we shouldt be concerned. >> if i may we're trying to provide facts. i do not want to suggest in any way that we don't think this is a big deal. we think this is a huge deal. >> terrific. so last two questions. bot nets, really good things that are useful or terrible things that arere a menace? in te >> in this context i would describe automated fake account creation as a menace. >> yes. >> menace. >> shell corporations that prevent you from looking through them and seeing who the true beneficial owner is. a help or menace?nt
>> anything that prevents us from policing the agauthentacet of our viewers is a menace. >> i would agree with that. >> i would agree.re >> okay. i'm done. >> i'm going for the second round here. so make it clear are any of you in the content business? do you make your own content? do you generate content? mr. stretch? >> the vast, vast, vast majority of the content you see on facebook is user generated content. >> okay. which percentage do you generate? >> a minuscule percentage. >> less than 1%? >> yes. >> we're not in the content business. >> we're not in the content business. t >> this is a mr. smith. we'll talk about this in a minute. but this is provided to the
committee by mr. smith of the niger news telegram messenger ut channel. i hope they're out of business now. it encourages islamic state supporters to distribute islamic propaganda on facebook, twitter. it is these are your domains, oh supporters of the caliphate. so doal you all agree it's bad r business if it the american public perceives you as being able to have your platforms hijacked by terrorists to radicalize americans. it's all bad for business, right? >> it's beyond bad for business. there's no place foror terroris on facebook. >> and our technology takes down 95% of terroristic accounts. >> i agree with that proposition. >> on may 22nd in manchester there's a suicide bombing where the man in question killed 22
people. there's an isis-bomb making instructional video on youtube to build anwn explosive device. you took it down. it came back up. how do you prevent that from happening? >> there are a few techniques to keep youtube videos that violate policy from coming back up. onee is to of course take actio on the account but the more sophisticated way is generate essentially a digital finger pri print and block future attempts to upload it. there are sometimes ways to generally it works very well and when it works, it works perfectly. the way is to make sure we have fast flagging processes so it somehow evades us, we're notified of it by others or e ourselves quickly and take it down again. >> what have you learned today, mr. stretch? >> i've learned the seriousness
of this committee and its approach to this topic. >> i've learned we have a lot more work to do and we're doing that. >> iui think it's quite clear ts is a problem that's going to take the work of all the companies, law enforcement, and ngos to solve. >> thank you all very much. we'reco going to do two more second rounds and we got to move to the second panel. senator franken. >> thank you, mr. chairman. okay, mr. stretch, representing facebook would not commit to not accepting political ads paid for with foreign money. i asked somebody yes or no. he would not answer. i would like to ask the same question of you. will twitter and google commit today to stop running electoral ads that are paid for by foreign actors? >> i don't believe we do.
we'll have to get back to you. and part of the initiative around transparency of who is paying for an ad is to help educate as w well as who's behi advertisement. don't believe we take rubels. >> yes or no will you not take foreign political ads paid for with foreign money? >> yes. >> i would want to check to mak. sure it's a good signal. if it's a good signal, yes, if it's not, it's not a good approach. >> really. >> but the intention of it is consistent sfwlp y consistent. >> you know foreign companies can't actually legally do that. >> right, c foreign companies c. the trick is to make sure that it is a signal that gives us the right hit. its rar very good signal and so it might be the it right one to use, yeah.
>> foreigners can't use money in ouryo campaigns. you know that, right? it's illegal. so you want to know if it would be a good signal to do something illegal or not. >> the question is if it's a signal. but you're absolutely right there's not going -- >> i think it's a very plain question. mr. stretch, up until last month facebook allowed advertisers using the company self-service ad buying process in the topic of quote jew hater and other antisimettic themes. they were created by an algurhythm and not a human being. facebook removed them from the ad platform but only after viewers notified the company of it.
i question how such categories could be generated and allowed to persist without any human oversight. is it possible facebook really didn't know that these categories existed until the media told you? >> senator, these categories which of course are deeply offensive and alarming were, as your questions suggested, algurhythmicly generated and we don't believe they were used. but the mere possibility that they allowed them to be generated is unacceptable. that's why we launched a comprehensive review to make sure we have adequate guardrails in the term terms. >> so you don't know how many people sawads. >> we're not aware they were used. >> beult you don't know they
weren't? >> we don't know for certain they werewh never used. that's correct. what we want to do is learn from this and make sure that with the interest kcategories, obviously are not so vile and not so offensive and -- >> i'm running out of time but you don't know how much revenue you generated from ad campaigns targeting jew haters? >> we're not aware of any revenue being generated using that. >> and therefore you don't know then answer -- the answer to my question is i don't know. >>st the answer to your questio is i'm not aware of any revenue that was generated. we have no reason to believe they were used. but i can int say that without ekwivication. >> you can watch this in its entirety with officials from