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Twitter slammed over Brexit inquiry response

Twitter has been slammed by the chair of a parliamentary com..

Twitter has been slammed by the chair of a parliamentary committee for its "completely inadequate" response to an inquiry into Russian interference in the EU referendum.

Damian Collins MP criticised the social media company for responding to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee's questions with just a copy of the letter it sent to the Electoral Commission.

Alongside the Electoral Commission, the committee is investigating social media companies as it attempts to identify the impact of "fake news" being circulated on social media during the Brexit campaign.

"It seems odd that so far we have received more information about activities that have taken place on your platform from journalists and academics than from you," Mr Collins told Twitter.

Mr Collins wanted to obtain a list of Twitter accounts linked to a private Russian company called the Internet Research Agency, which allegedly attempted to influence the US presidential election last year.

Key evidence linking the Kremlin to social media troll accounts has not been made public, despite questions being raised of Twitter's methodology in identifying them.

One of the suspended accounts that was presented to a US intelligence committee as being operated by Russian trolls was subsequently identified as belonging to a US citizen and reinstated, without explanation.

Image:Social media companies have been questioned over Russian interference

Twitter has informed the committee that its review has not concluded but that at the moment it had only identified expenditure by one Russian-linked account on its platform.

The account belonged to media channel Russia Today, it said, which spent roughly $1,000 (£750) during the EU referendum advertising its coverage.

Russia Today, alongside Sputnik, has since been prohibited from advertising on Twitter, and the company said it would donate the combined $1.9m (£1.4m) that Russia Today spent globally on promoting its content towards academic research into elections and civil engagement.

The criticism of Twitter follows Facebook's submission to the Electoral Commission.

More from Tech

On Wednesday, Facebook claimed that only three Kremlin-linked accounts were found to have bought advertisements which could have influenced the Brexit referendum.

These accounts, which Facebook claimed are associated with the Internet Research Agency, spent $0.97 (72p) on advertisements.

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