Facebook, Twitter fall as they face U.S. Congress

Jack Dorsey 2015

Jack Dorsey 2015

"Any suggestion that Jack made or overruled any of these decisions is completely and totally false", Twitter's chief legal officer, Vijaya Gadde, said in a statement. Google, however, risks having an empty chair at the hearing after cofounder Larry Page declined to appear. Follow the live blog below.

"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 U.S. elections", a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

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. "The actions we've taken in response - beginning with the steps Facebook's General Counsel, Colin Stretch, outlined to this Committee previous year - show our determination to do everything we can to stop this kind of interference from happening".

As a social media platform, Twitter is caught in a dilemma: either it gets flak for hate content remaining on the service, or it gets criticized for removing the content - likely as a perceived affront to free speech or as a show of what US President Donald Trump would call political bias.

"As a bipartisan report from this committee said, Russian Federation used social media as part of, and I quote, a comprehensive and multi-faceted campaign to sow discord, undermine democratic institutions, and interfere in US elections and those of our allies", she explained.

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Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg says the company is getting better at finding and combating adversaries who try to use the platform.

Dorsey offered an explanation of how San Francisco-based Twitter uses "behavioral signals", such as the way accounts interact and behave on the service. Twitter has been accused by some of suppressing conservative voices on the platform - which the company denied in July.

"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", said Warner.

"Google and Twitter and Facebook, they're really treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful". Thirteen Russians were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller earlier this year on charges of an elaborate plot to disrupt the 2016 US presidential election by creating fake accounts that pushed divisive issues on social media.

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