Top Democrats Urge Facebook, Twitter to Investigate Russia’s Embrace of #ReleaseTheMemo

“I’ve never seen any single hashtag that has had this amount of activity behind it.”

Tom Williams/ZUMA

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.

“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.

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.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.