YouTube found no evidence of Russian interference in Brexit referendum

A 3D-printed YouTube icon is seen in front of a displayed YouTube logo in this illustration taken October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Ilustration

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - YouTube found no evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 Brexit referendum, a senior executive told a British parliamentary committee inquiry into fake news.

Britain’s Digital, Media, Culture and Sport Committee is taking evidence on Thursday at George Washington University as part of its inquiry.

Juniper Downs, YouTube’s global head of public policy, said the Google division found “no evidence of Russian interference in the Brexit referendum.”

Relations between Russia and Britain are strained. British Prime Minister Theresa May last year accused Moscow of military aggression and said there was evidence of Russia’s meddling in foreign elections.

The Kremlin, which under Vladimir Putin has clawed back some of the global influence lost when the Soviet Union collapsed, has denied meddling in elections in the West. It says anti-Russian hysteria is sweeping through the United States and Europe.

Britain says it has not seen any evidence that Russia interfered in British elections, though May has said it has planted fake news stories and photo-shopped images in an attempt to sow discord and undermine the West.

Facebook executive Simon Milner told the hearing that Britain’s Electoral Commission had asked it to investigate whether Russian fake information was disseminated through Facebook in connection with the Brexit referendum.

Milner said Facebook did provide some information late last year to the Commission but that agency felt the company’s work was inadequate, so Facebook is now “undertaking more work” which will be completed by the end of February.

Reporting by Mark Hosenball, writing by Paul Sandle,; editing by Guy Faulconbridge