During a second day of hearings with top officials of Facebook, Twitter and Google, lawmakers in the Congress released a series of advertisements placed by and paid for by shadowy Russian groups, which were placed on major social media platforms during the 2016 elections, most of them stirring already divisive issues in the U.S. like immigration, gay rights, and matters with racial overtones.
"We really do want these ads to get out in the public space," said Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), who joined lawmakers in both parties in pressing social media giants to show examples of what was used by Russia - before and after the election - to stir political debates in the United States.
The ads - which would have given no one any hint that they originated from Russia - covered everything from the Second Amendment, to racial issues, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, and more.
Lawmakers in both parties weren't convinced that Facebook, Google and Twitter had located all the 2016 ads from Russian-related groups, worried that even more is still going on today.
"Do you believe that Russian intelligence services are still - today - on your platforms?" asked Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA).
"I think there's a possibility," said Sean Edgett of Twitter. "And we're working to find them," as officials from Facebook and Google agreed with that answer.
The officials from the three social media companies knew of some actions by Russia during the elections, but the depth of it did not become apparent until after the election was over.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.