Congress grills Facebook, Twitter over foreign bids to tilt politics

06 September, 2018, 02:04 | Author: Kristen Mcgee
  • US-IT-MEDIA-POLITICS-INTERNET-COMPUTERS-ESPIONAGE

In August, Twitter came under fire from its users and even from some employees for not joining numerous top social media platforms in banning Alex Jones.

Sheryl Sandberg will tell the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday that Facebook was "too slow to spot" Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and "too slow to act", according to an opening statement the Facebook chief operating officer released Tuesday.

Instead, an empty chair, complete with a glass of water, joined Sandberg and Dorsey on the dais.

FILE PHOTO: Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer and Member of the Board, attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, January 18, 2017. "It violated the values of our company and of the country we love", Sandberg said in her written statement, which Facebook shared with Fortune.

The news is the latest sign that the USA government, which has so far been reluctant to regulate internet companies, is scrutinising them more closely. "Period. Impartiality is our guiding principle", Dorsey told the panel.

Social media stocks fell after his remarks, with Twitter down 5.7 percent and Facebook around 1.8 percent lower.

To help combat this, Facebook has employed some 20,000 people in its safety and security division and is viewing reports in 50 languages "24 hours a day", according to Sandberg.

China's JD.com: Founder Returns to Beijing After US Arrest
The New York Times reported Liu has returned to China where he has become the talk of the nation. JD.com is 10 percent owned by Walmart , while Chinese internet firm Tencent owns 18 percent.

This Nov. 19, 2015, file photo shows Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey being interviewed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Sandberg said the company is making changes to its advertisement system, letting users know who paid for what, and is working to more efficiently identify false information. And Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, ran the gauntlet of the House and Senate in April, following the revelations of the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting operation.

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

"(We) found no statistically significant difference between the number of times a tweet by a Democrat is viewed versus a Republican, even after our ranking and filtering of tweets has been applied", Dorsey said.

Facebook is going after "inauthenticity", or fake accounts.

"Twitter does not use political ideology to make any decisions, whether related to ranking content on our service or how we enforce our rules", Dorsey said in prepared remarks to a congressional hearing with U.S. technology giants.

Facing growing criticism from President Trump and GOP lawmakers that social media platforms favor liberals, Dorsey insisted Twitter is impartial. In testimony released before that hearing, Dorsey denied that Twitter uses political ideology to make decisions.

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.

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