Facebook, Twitter execs to face lawmakers over foreign influence operations

Facebook, Twitter execs to face lawmakers over foreign influence operations

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter chief executive officer Jack Dorsey are sworn-in for a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing concerning foreign influence operations' use of social media platforms, on Capitol Hill, Sept. 5, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Dorsey will tell the House Energy and Commerce Committee that Twitter "does not use political ideology to make any decisions", according to written testimony made public on Tuesday.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey maintained Wednesday that his social media platform doesn't ban, downgrade or filter content based on politics.

Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-V.A.) echoed that sentiment.

"This is an arms race, and that means we need to be ever more vigilant", she said.

It remains unclear what, if any, onerous regulations may eventually befall companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter.

This will be the first time Sandberg has publicly faced significant questioning about Facebook's role in the 2016 election.

He cited Facebook and Google by name.

Last week Trump accused Google's search engine of promoting negative news articles and hiding "fair media" coverage of him, vowing to address the situation without providing evidence or giving details of action he might take.

"The premise of this whole hearing and the reason that Twitter somehow... got the singular honor to sit in front of this committee", Doyle said, "is because there's some implication that your site is trying to censor conservative voices on your platform". Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg will also face questions, mainly surrounding what her company has done to crack down on abuse and other forms of content created to mislead.

In the statement, a shorter version of which Sandberg will read Wednesday, Sandberg outlines steps Facebook is taking to prevent future foreign meddling in elections through its platform.

The hearing comes after Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, said last month that Russian Federation has continued to attempt the kinds of online influence operations it allegedly ran on the social platforms to spread false information and sow divisiveness ahead of the 2016 US presidential election. Jones railed on the government, media and social media companies for more than 40 minutes in the hallway as the hearing began, and later took a seat in the hearing room.

Dorsey said it was "unacceptable" that she was not told.

Google did release written "testimony" from Walker ahead of the hearing, even though he was not expected to appear.

Senate leaders rejected Google's offer to make Kent Walker, its senior vice president and chief legal officer, available for the hearings.

Sandberg, in her opening statement, said Russian interference, "violated the values of our company, and of the country we love", and emphasized that Facebook is increasing its staffing to identify malicious actors.

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