Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) are asking Twitter and Facebook to look into Russian-linked bot accounts that pushed the #ReleaseTheMemo trend started by Republicans.
The memo referred to in the hashtag was written by Republican staffers and purportedly contains evidence showing that the Department of Justice and the FBI have conducted a corrupt investigation against President Trump regarding his possible collusion with Russia to sway the 2016 elections in his favor. Democrats have said that the contents are misleading and that the memo is just another attempt to discredit the probe.
Several Republican legislators and Donald Trump Jr. began demanding last week that the memo be released. They used the hashtag #ReleaseTheMemo to promote the effort, and 24 hours later, it was the number one trend among accounts linked to Russian propaganda, including automated bot accounts.
NEW: Sen. Feinstein, Rep. Schiff urge Facebook and Twitter to investigate involvement of Russian bots in pushing "Release the Memo" campaign: "If these reports are accurate, we are witnessing an ongoing attack by the Russian government through Kremlin-linked social media actors." pic.twitter.com/SkAci5NefK
— ABC News (@ABC) January 23, 2018
Schiff and Feinstein sent a letter on Tuesday to the CEOs of the two social networks asking that they conduct a review of the matter and provide a report to the public by January 26.
“If these reports are accurate,” the letter reads, referring to the numerous stories about the situation in the press, “we are witnessing an ongoing attack by the Russian government through Kremlin-linked social media actors directly acting to intervene and influence our democratic process.”
It continues, “This should be disconcerting to all Americans, but especially your companies, as, once again, it appears the majority of their efforts are concentrated on your platforms.”
Both Facebook and Twitter confirmed that they’d received the letter.
With two indictments and two guilty pleas from top former Trump staffers — as well as the upcoming interviews of others — having already come out of the Russian investigation, it’s not hard to see why the GOP is scrambling for new ways to diminish the public’s confidence in the probe’s credibility.