Shares of some of the world's largest tech companies were taking a beating Wednesday as executives from Twitter and Facebook testified before Congress.
Top Twitter Inc and Facebook Inc executives will defend their companies before USA lawmakers on Wednesday, with Facebook insisting it takes election interference seriously and Twitter denying its operations are influenced by politics. Either Google CEO Sundar Pichai or Alphabet CEO Larry Page were supposed to attend the hearing. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., suggested the company might have bailed because it was "arrogant" while Sen.
Dorsey will testify later on Wednesday during a separate House hearing, while Sandberg will not. Like Zuckerberg, she acknowledged Facebook's lag in recognizing Russian efforts to manipulate Facebook during and after the 2016 USA presidential election.
"You previously expressed interest in the broad applications of blockchain technology, including potentially in an effort to verify identity to fight misinformation and scams", Matsui remarked before asking: "What potential applications do you see for blockchain?" But he was forthcoming with the committee about what his company needs to improve. "We found ourselves unprepared and ill-equipped for the immensity of the problems we've acknowledged". "Worse, a relatively small number of bad-faith actors were able to game Twitter to have an outsized impact".
Some Republicans have also charged social media companies with bias against Trump and other conservatives. In contrast, the bearded and tieless Dorsey, 41, was quiet but respectful in his answers.
Both hearings will also give lawmakers their latest chance to show their own mastery of the technological material and brush off some criticism that followed the April hearing with Zuckerberg in which some Senators didn't seem to understand some basics about the social network.
The companies have laid out differing approaches in response to the Russian interference.
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The Senate Intelligence Committee has been looking into reported Russian efforts to influence USA public opinion throughout Trump's presidency, after US intelligence agencies concluded that entities backed by the Kremlin had sought to boost his chances of winning the White House in 2016. Twitter is focusing on analyzing behavior patterns to find suspicious activity because Twitter technically allows "fake" accounts in the form of spoofs, for example. What is clear is that the hands-off business models that made these companies their fortunes must change.
In an interview with The Daily Caller published on Wednesday, Trump said the companies had a liberal bias that played out during the 2016 election campaign that won him the White House. Though Burr added, "I'm not sure your success is the big story here".
Republican Senator Susan Collins said she had learned from a university report that she had been targeted some 270 times by Russian-linked tolls on Twitter, asking Dorsey why the company does not tell users when they have been attacked. He said it suspended 770 account for violating Twitter policies.
The leaders defended their practices of censorship and sharing personal data with third parties as lawmakers called for greater federal regulations to ensure the United States does not repeat the mistakes of the 2016 presidential election, where Russian Federation played a key role in infiltrating these social media sites.
The afternoon hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Committee will feature only Dorsey in a hearing focused on bias and the platform's algorithms. Some Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have pushed the idea that Twitter is "shadow banning" some in the GOP because of the ways search results have appeared. Twitter denies that is happening.
To kick off his opening statement, Dorsey picked up his phone and said he would be tweeting out his prepared testimony.