Facebook, Twitter Face US Congress Over Politics and the Internet

05 September, 2018, 21:34 | Author: Rickey Flowers
  • WSJ: Twitter CEO Involved in Alex Jones, Richard Spencer Decisions

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee to answer questions about their platform's roles in the 2016 United States presidential election and any Russian interference in the democratic process via the social networks.

President Trump has repeatedly criticized Google, Facebook and Twitter in recent days, bashing the companies in a series of tweets and press conferences for allegedly exhibiting political bias against conservatives.

At the start of the hearing Senator Mark Warner, the committee's Democratic vice chairman, said the companies were not doing enough to stop the flow of foreign influence and threatened Congressional action.

This acceptance of a large amount of responsibility generated enough reaction on, ironically, social media, that the Facebook COO became a trending topic on Twitter.

Both Dorsey and Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg have confirmed they will be in Washington for the Senate hearing September 5.

"We were too slow to spot this and too slow to act", Sandberg said during the Senate hearing, addressing Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 USA presidential election.

Sask. trade minister "concerned" over NAFTA talks
It would require more auto parts to be made in North America, and to be made by workers earning at least $16 an hour. Second, it gives the United States top billing, which could be interpreted as an affront to Mexicans and Canadians.

Dorsey will follow the Senate hearing with another hearing that could be politically more contentious - an appearance before the House Energy and Commerce Committee that will specifically address Twitter's "algorithms and content moderation".

For the most part, this also means the Republican House Majority will likely be asking questions pertaining to Twitter censorship of conservative voices on the platform - such as the temporary suspension of far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

Trump faulted Twitter on July 26, without citing any evidence, for limiting the visibility of prominent Republicans through a practice known as shadow banning.

On bias, the Twitter CEO is aggressive in defending his company, saying in the prepared House testimony that he wants to be clear about one thing: "Twitter does not use political ideology to make any decisions, whether related to ranking content on our service or how we enforce our rules". Republican Senator Marco Rubio said the company might have skipped the hearing because it was "arrogant".

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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