MPs demand action over alleged Russian interference in UK democratic process
The Digital, Media, Culture and Sport committee (DCMS) has demanded chiefs at Twitter hand over a list of potential accounts run by Russian trolls that may have interfered in the UK’s democratic process.
MPs sitting on the DCMS committee decided to act after Russian interference in America’s democracy via Twitter was exposed by a US Congress inquiry.
The committee’s chairman, Damian Collins, has written to the social networking service’s chief executive officer, Jack Dorsey, asking for information on any Russian accounts posting about UK politics.
DCMS committee has been conducting a wider inquiry in the phenomenon of fake news amid claims both the June general election and last year’s EU referendum vote were manipulated by Russian trolls.
Twitter’s acting general counsel, Sean Edgett, gave evidence to a Senate hearing in Washington this week revealing that it had traced 2,752 accounts to the Internet Research Agency, the Russia-based troll factory, which sent out 1.4m messages in just over two months.
Collins told Dorsey: “It has subsequently emerged that some of these accounts were also posting content that relates to the politics of the United Kingdom. Any interference by foreign actors in the democratic process of the United Kingdom is clearly a serious matter.
“I would therefore ask that Twitter provides to the committee a list of accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency and any other Russian linked accounts that it has removed and examples of any posts from these accounts that are linked to the United Kingdom.”
Collins gave Twitter a deadline of the end of November to provide the information.
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