Trump, without evidence, accuses social media companies of election meddling

05 September, 2018, 21:33 | Author: Rodolfo Hawkins
  • Jack Dorsey 2015

Congress has criticized the companies over the past year as Russia's interference in the 2016 elections and beyond became clear.

"Over the last 18 months we've met with dozens of Committee Members and briefed major Congressional Committees numerous times on our work to prevent foreign interference in United States elections", a Google spokesperson said in an email.

Google offered to send its chief legal officer, Kent Walker, to Wednesday's hearing, but he was rejected by the committee, which said it wanted to hear from corporate decision-makers.

"We were too slow to spot this and too slow to act", Sandberg will say.

In a statement, Twitter denied Dorsey was involved in either decision.

Dorsey will appear before the US House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee after Republicans raised concerns about how the social media platform polices content. Richard Burr, R-N.C., said Google doesn't "understand the problem" if it doesn't want to work with the government to find solutions.

Jack Dorsey, chief executive of Twitter, also acknowledged his company's past failures.

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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.

President Donald Trump used Twitter on July 26 to fault the website, without evidence, for using so-called shadow banning, or limiting the visibility of, prominent Republicans.

In the Senate, both Burr and Warner pressed the social media companies to do more.

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

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

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.

A committee spokesperson said Walker's "commentary" was not testimony, adding, "We wish his enthusiasm for participating in the company's public hearing extended to his company's senior leadership, and that they were willing to answer the committee's questions".

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