The Russia scandal has ricocheted back across the pond. And it’s dragging Silicon Valley’s giants along with it. Spurred on by Prime Minister Theresa May’s threat to retaliate against Russian interference, a parliamentary committee wants to grill executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter. The committee, following similar inquiries by U.S. lawmakers, is investigating whether Russians are using American internet companies to sway British elections, including last year’s Brexit vote.
On Monday, May told the Kremlin, “We know what you were doing, and you will not succeed.” The warning exposed Europe’s growing alarm as Russian fighter jets probe its airspace and Russian bots steer its political debates. Spanish Defense Minister Maria Dolores de Cospedal made a similar allegation this week, saying Russian servers had been used to fuel online propaganda during the Catalan crisis.
May’s remarks – dismissed by Russia as “irresponsible” – drew an uncomfortable contrast with U.S. President Donald Trump. Only a day earlier, Trump had repeated his desire for a “friendly posture” toward Russia, even after one of his top intelligence officials reaffirmed findings the country interfered in last year’s presidential election.