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Twitter Fires Back After Scathing Review of Russia Inquiry Presentation

by Alyssa Newcomb and Jo Ling Kent /  / Updated 
Image: Colin Crowell, Emily Horne
Twitter's Emily Horne, left, global policy communications director, and Colin Crowell, center, head of global public policy, wait to enter a closed door meeting with the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill on Sept. 28, 2017, in Washington.Alex Brandon / AP

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Twitter is firing back after the social platform received a scathing review of its presentation to congressional staffers on Thursday who are probing Russian interference in last year's U.S. presidential election.

"We brought the committees a wide range of information we proactively gathered, including inquiries into what Facebook shared with us and beyond," Twitter spokeswoman Emily Horne told NBC News.

This included information about measures they took during the 2016 campaign to tackle misinformation, details about how Twitter fights bots and spam on the network, and the disclosure that Kremlin-linked news outlet RT spent $274,100 on Twitter ads last year.

"The committees had not requested any specific information from us; we did this proactively, to demonstrate the kinds of inquiries we can do when we have parameters," she said.

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Twitter's vice president for public policy, Colin Crowell, met behind closed-doors Thursday with staff members from the intelligence committees from both the Senate and the House, the company said in a blog post.

After the meeting, Senator Mark Warner, D-Va., the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he was "deeply disappointed" and called Twitter's response "frankly inadequate on almost every level."

Related: Twitter’s Response to Russia Inquiry ‘Inadequate,’ Democratic Senator Says

Twitter released its longest public response to the Russian inquiry on Thursday, detailing some of what it told Congress in a blog post, while noting that some information could not be publicly shared.

The company said it removed 201 accounts linked to the same Russian operatives who used Facebook to spread misinformation during the election.

Twitter was able to link the accounts it removed to Russian entities through an internal review of roughly 450 accounts shared by Facebook, the blog post said. Those groups had 22 corresponding Twitter accounts, while 179 more accounts were linked to them.

The company's response comes as Congress is placing more scrutiny on technology companies to answer questions in the Russian meddling probe.

Facebook is in the process of handing over 3,000 advertisements to special counsel Robert Mueller and Congress, including payment data and details on how Russian entities targeted voters through Facebook's system.

Representatives from Facebook and Twitter have also been invited to testify at an open hearing before Congress regarding the Russian investigation.

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