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News | New details on meddling

Mohamed Hakim

Facebook told Congress on Wednesday that the apparent political meddling included use of its image-o

Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch told a hearing that Instagram posts by suspect Russian accounts were seen by some 20 million Americans last year.

"We now discovered, in the last 48 hours, 120,000 Russian-based posts on Instagram," Stretch told the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.
The latest data on Instagram is on top of the estimated 126 million Americans exposed to Facebook posts from Russian entities seeking to create divisions during the election campaign.

"So all told, that gets you to approximately -- a little less than 150 million," Stretch said in response to questioning from Democratic Senator Mark Warner.

Senator Dianne Feinstein of California told the hearing which included lawyers for Facebook, Google and Twitter that the companies need to do more to help combat "cyber warfare."

"I asked specific questions, I got vague answers, and that just won't do," she told the companies.
"You have a huge problem on your hands... You've created these platforms, and now they are being misused, and you have to be the ones to do something about it, or we will."

The hearing was the second in Congress this week in which social media and internet firms have been called to explain how fake news and other disinformation was allowed to spread during the election campaign.

Facebook's quarterly report offered no details on its efforts to diversify with applications such as Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger and its virtual reality hardware unit Oculus.

The group has been seeking to monetize the other apps and last month unveiled a wireless virtual reality headset aimed at bringing the technology to the masses.