A powerful Democratic lawmaker from Silicon Valley’s own backyard is demanding that Facebook and Twitter turn over reams of new data about Russian disinformation spread on their platforms during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The new scrutiny comes from California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and her requests — detailed in exhaustive letters to the two tech giants’ chief executives — are part of her broader probe into the Kremlin’s potential coordination with Donald Trump’s campaign.
Specifically, Feinstein seeks information about any Russian-connected user accounts, pages, organic content and ads that targeted their efforts at the United States. And with Twitter, in particular, she asks the company to share some direct messages sent and received by Julian Assange, the publisher of WikiLeaks.
In both cases, though, Feinstein demands answers by Nov. 6. That’s five days after Facebook and Twitter are set to send their senior legal advisers to Capitol Hill for back-to-back hearings before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, which have spearheaded lawmakers’ Russia investigations.
Feinstein is a major player on the Senate’s panel, but she also serves as the top Democrat on her chamber’s Judiciary Committee — another group of lawmakers that has explored potential ties between Trump and Kremlin agents.
Still, her requests on Friday suggest that congressional interest in Russia’s disinformation efforts on social media is only widening, compounding an already awful political headache in Silicon Valley.
A spokesman for Feinstein did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
From Facebook, the California lawmaker seeks more information than the company has already provided.
Earlier this month, the social giant turned over copies of roughly 3,000 ads purchased by Russian trolls before Election Day to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Apparently, though, Facebook did not provide any of the organic content posted by the 470 identified Russia-tied accounts. To that end, Feinstein wants the contents of those pages, as well as detailed information about the accounts themselves, including their IP addresses.
But Feinstein also demands that Facebook turn over any data related to “Russia-connected accounts,” which she broadly defines as “a person or entity ... that may be connected in some way to Russia, including by user language setting, user currency or other payment method.” And Feinstein calls on Facebook to share copies of communications between its employees and “individuals or entities associated with Russia-connected users” that purchased ads.
Feinstein’s letter to Twitter, meanwhile, marks her committee’s first formal request of the tech giant. In many ways, she asks the company to provide the same kind of information, broadly targeting any users or ads with Russian ties.
The lawmaker further asks Twitter to unearth and share ads and organic content that the company “determined was attempting to suppress voter turnout or otherwise interfere with the right to vote.” And she even demands account information about WikiLeaks, Assange and Guccifer, the latter of which allegedly hacked Democrats’ email servers. That includes some direct messages sent and received by those accounts that are older than 180 days.
In doing so, though, Feinstein also acknowledges the difficult nature of her own request.
"While I recognize that this type of information is not routinely shared with Congress,” she says, “we have sought to limit the requests to communications only with those entities identified as responsible for distribution of material that was unlawfully obtained through Russian cyberattacks on U.S. computer systems.”
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.