Congress Wants Tighter Regulation of Social Media Giants Ahead of Midterm Elections

Jack Dorsey 2015

Lawmakers on Wednesday grilled top executives from Facebook and Twitter about their efforts to prevent foreign governments from influencing USA politics, but they saved their harshest criticism for Google and its decision not to send a top representative to testify on Capitol Hill.

Twitter Inc. shares fell as much as 6.6% as Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in Washington, though it's unclear why the stock is down so much.

The later hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee was to focus on bias and Twitter's algorithms.

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

Senator Mark Warner, the Senate Intelligence Committee's Democratic vice chairman, said the companies have not done enough to slow the spread of disinformation, and said Congress might need to act.

"These are expensive investments, but that will not stop us because we know they are critical, she said".

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

Lawyers for Facebook, Google and Twitter were grilled by senators over the course of two days last October, after the extent of the Russian social media influence operation was revealed. "And that's not possible right now", she said.

Oil falls on rising output from OPEC and United States
People often focus on the supply side. but what happens if China reduces its consumption? "I see that as a possibility as well".

"I'm deeply disappointed that Google ― one of the most influential digital platforms in the world ― chose not to send its own top corporate leadership to engage this committee", he said.

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.

Dorsey will testify later on Wednesday during a separate House hearing, while Sandberg will not.

While the committee invited either Google CEO Sundar Pichai or Alphabet's Larry Page to testify, the company declined to send either of its top executives.

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook Inc., speaks during a news conference at Station F, a mega-campus for startups located inside a former freight railway depot, in Paris, Jan. 17, 2017.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has been looking into efforts to influence USA public opinion for more than a year, after US intelligence agencies concluded that Kremlin-backed entities sought to boost Republican President Donald Trump's chances of winning the White House in 2016.

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

"My view is personal data is now the weapon of choice for political influence campaigns and we must not make it easier for our adversaries to seize these weapons and use them against us", Wyden said while discussing ways Congress can assist in this issue.

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