Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) are urging Facebook and Twitter to investigate potential Russian involvement in the current partisan push to release a Republican-authored memo that reportedly alleges the FBI used unlawful surveillance tactics to target a former Trump campaign adviser.
The lawmakers’ Tuesday letter comes amid widespread reports of Russia-linked bots propagating the #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag.
“I’ve never seen any single hashtag that has had this amount of activity behind it,” said Bret Schafer of Hamilton 68, a German Marshall Fund-backed group dedicated to monitoring Russian influence on social media. [Editor’s note: Hamilton 68’s creator, the Alliance to Secure Democracy, discontinued the dashboard in 2018. The group has since been criticized for refusing to disclose specifics, including which accounts it was tracking and which if any were directly Kremlin-linked.]
“If these reports are accurate, we are witnessing an ongoing attack by the Russian government through Kremlin-linked social media actors,” the letter, which is addressed to the CEOs of Twitter and Facebook, Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg, read.
A growing chorus of Republicans have claimed to be shocked by allegations catalogued in the memo. Meanwhile, Democrats say that the classified memo—which was written by Republican staffers on the House Intelligence Committee, chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)—contains an alarming number of inaccuracies and misleading information and was assembled to undermine the FBI, the Justice Department, and ultimately the ongoing Russia probes.
I have read the memo. The sickening reality has set in. I no longer hold out hope there is an innocent explanation for the information the public has seen. I have long said it is worse than Watergate. It was #neverTrump & #alwaysHillary. #releasethememo
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) January 21, 2018
Nunes has been curiously slow to say whether he’ll in fact publicly #ReleaseTheMemo. He has so far declined to provide a copy to either the FBI or, as Mother Jones revealed on Monday, the Justice Department.