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Twitter to alert users who saw Russian propaganda during election

by Phil McCausland /
Carlos Monje, Director of Twitter's North America Public Policy and Philanthropy, speaks during a hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation committee on Capitol Hill on Jan. 17, 2018 in Washington, DC.Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images

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Have you been the victim of Russian tweet trolls? You may soon find out.

A representative for Twitter said in testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday that the social media company would inform users who were exposed to Russian propaganda during the 2016 election.

When asked by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., what the social media giant would do to disclose to users that they had viewed Russian propaganda, Twitter’s representative claimed the company had begun to develop plans to fulfill that request.

“We will be working to identify and inform individually the users who may have been exposed to the IRA accounts during the election,” said Twitter's director of policy, Carlos Monje.

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IRA is shorthand for the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll factory that created volatile content seen by approximately 126 million people during the presidential election.

When asked for more specific details about its plans to contact potentially millions of people individually, Twitter told NBC News that they would publish a blog post outlining additional details, but said they had nothing more to say than what Monje told the committee.

Related: Russian troll describes work in the infamous misinformation factory

Carlos Monje, Director of Twitter's North America Public Policy and Philanthropy, speaks during a hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation committee on Capitol Hill on Jan. 17, 2018 in Washington, DC.Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images

Representatives of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube all testified before the committee Wednesday in a discussion that touched on controversial communications related to propaganda, free speech, terrorism and net neutrality.

All three representatives expressed their strong support for net neutrality during the hearing.

But much of the attention remained on Twitter, the favored social media platform of President Donald Trump and internet trolls, and how propaganda could influence the 2018 midterm elections.

Related: Timeline of Social Media and the American Election

Monje said that in anticipation of the 2018 elections Twitter has dedicated a large number of resources “to combat disinformation and election interference by foreign state actors.”

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