Sen. Blumenthal Presses Edge to Investigate Saudi Propaganda

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), one of social media's Hill critics, has called on the CEOs of Facebook, Google, Reddit and Twitter to investigate reports of a pro-Saudi disinformation campaign in the wake of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

He also wants them to look into reports that the Saudi government provided aid to the Trump campaign via social media platforms, disclose the findings, and notify users.

His office said that Blumenthal's letters to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the other CEOs came after news that botnets had increased efforts to push pro-Saudi propaganda on social media following Khashoggi's death and the eventual admission by the Saudi's that he had died in their consulate in Turkey.

“President Trump’s vigorous defense of the Saudi government following the murder of Jamal Khashoggi raises questions about his ties, financial and otherwise, to Saudi Arabia," said Blumenthal. "One such question is to what extent the Saudis provided assistance to the Trump campaign, including previously reported proposals to manipulate voters through social media and online platforms,” wrote Blumenthal.

Blumenthal has called for investigations of Google over its Google+ social media platform and has been critical of Facebook over its handling of sensitive info.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.