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Senate Intel to hear from Facebook, Twitter and Google on election interference

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The Senate Intelligence Committee is set to hear testimony from representatives from Facebook, Twitter and Google in an open hearing Wednesday, November 1st as part of the ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

"The witnesses will address social media influence in the 2016 U.S. elections and what steps they area taking to mitigate foreign interference in the 2018 election cycle and beyond," read a statement from committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr.

Colin Stretch, Vice President and General Counsel for Facebook, Sean Edgett, General Counsel for Twitter and Kent Walker, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Google will all be testifying on behalf of their companies. 

The hearing comes after Facebook agreed to disclose ads to Congress that were purchased by Russians on the social media platform in that country's effort to influence the 2016 election, the company announced last month. 

CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said about the company's disclosure or the ads, "I care deeply about the democratic process and protecting its integrity," adding, "I don't want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy -- that's not what we stand for."

Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg has said the social media site has an "enormous responsibility" to release all ads purchased by foreign entities on the site as they relate to Congress' ongoing investigation.

Twitter has also recently announced its efforts to offer more transparency in the political arena by providing more information about political ads that run on its platform, including who is funding them and who is being targeted.

The company plans to launch a so-called transparency center, which will include details on ads, it said in a blog post Tuesday. The service will require ads that refer to a candidate or party to be clearly identified as election ads.

"In the coming weeks, we will launch an industry-leading transparency center that will offer everyone visibility into who is advertising on Twitter, details behind those ads and tools to share your feedback with us," the company said.

Election ads will have a uniform look, and Twitter will provide information on the advertiser, including the audience they are targeting and the total money they spent on the media platform. 

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