Twitter

Social media companies like Twitter and Facebook have been testifying before Congress over the past few weeks about how their platforms were used by Russian agents to interfere in the 2016 US election.

Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET

Updated Oct. 25 at 1:42 p.m. EDT

Twitter has promised more disclosure about its advertisements as members of Congress put the big social networks under a microscope in investigating Russian interference in U.S. politics.

The San Francisco-based microblogging service said Tuesday that it plans to unveil an "industry-leading transparency center" through which it will "offer everyone visibility into who is advertising on Twitter, details behind those ads" and tools through which users can respond.

Shortly before Election Day last year, some helpful-looking posts began popping up on Twitter: No need to stand in line or even leave home, they said — just vote by text!

The messages, some of which appeared to come from Hillary Clinton's campaign, had versions in Spanish, with gay pride flags and other permutations. They were also 100 percent false.

Where did they come from?

Since the dawn of Twitter, the social network has been defined by its limit: 140 characters. But in a tweet that offered a glimpse of what is to come, co-founder Jack Dorsey announced that the service plans to experiment with doubling that cap.

The hashtag is 10! Yes, the symbol that started out as the lowly "number sign" or "pound" on the telephone keypad and later morphed into something entirely different is 10 years old today. And it has accomplished quite a lot. In fact, it's hard to imagine modern communication without it.

And you might think it was all by design. That the folks running Twitter needed a catchy little tool to help their new platform catch fire, and the hashtag is what they came up with.

But that's not the way it happened.

The former president's message after the violence in Charlottesville, Va., was brief, but it hit the right note for many.

"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion ... ," Barack Obama tweeted, accompanied by a photo of himself, jacket slung over his shoulder, smiling at four young children gathered at a windowsill.

In name and in aim, it's a bill for our political moment.

Ladies and gentlemen, Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois presents: the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement, or COVFEFE Act.

As Congress has taught us time and again, any legislative priority can be pretzeled into an acronym if you simply toss away the conventions of standard American English.

Updated at 5:20 p.m. ET

Spokespeople at the White House and the State Department say the Trump administration remains committed to cooperation among Arab allies in the Middle East. The reassurance comes after a series of tweets in which President Trump appeared to be siding with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states in their push to isolate Qatar.

President Trump's Twitter account may be popular among his fans at home, but his latest missives are complicating the work of American diplomats overseas. As some diplomats push back, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert cautions that they "are expected to use their judgment."

Consider Trump's personal attack on London's mayor, Sadiq Khan, after Saturday night's deadly terrorist attack in the British capital.

President Trump has been tweeting about a federal court ruling that temporarily blocked his plan to suspend funding for "sanctuary cities."

These are cities — among them New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago and San Francisco — that have limited their cooperation with federal immigration authorities. For example, they may refuse to detain people who are in the U.S. illegally on behalf of the federal agents.

Now, the Trump tweets:

President Trump's Tweets, Annotated

Mar 7, 2017

President Trump tweets a lot. With tens of millions of followers on Twitter, Trump proposes policy, shares his latest actions and reacts to the news. But 140 characters rarely gives the full context. Here, we attempt to do just that for key tweets beginning on Jan. 20, when he officially took office.

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On Saturdays, Jim Stokes searches for typefaces.

And on the floors of parking lots, the displays in antique stores and the dust jackets of his modest 4,000 book science-fiction collection, he finds them.

Then, he waits until Sunday to post them on Twitter.

Preventing banned users from creating new accounts and changing its search tool to minimize blocked accounts are among the new steps Twitter is taking to prevent "the most prevalent and damaging forms of behavior" on its social media platform.

The moves come months after Twitter gave its users new ways to mute and report abusive posts, as NPR's Alina Selyukh reported in November.

Is the commander in chief also acting as the troller in chief?

President Trump on Monday morning ridiculed Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who became emotional Sunday while condemning the president's travel ban, which temporarily bars travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries.

"I noticed Chuck Schumer yesterday with fake tears," Trump said during an Oval Office photo op with small-business leaders. "I'm going to ask him who is his acting coach."

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