USA to probe social media giants Facebook, Twitter on 'stifling' free speech

However, like Walden, Pallone acknowledged that Twitters ability to spread information quickly has a dark side, and said it and other social media companies must do more to regain and maintain public trust.

Dorsey said the messaging service was set up to function as a "public square" but had failed to deal with "abuse, harassment, troll armies, propaganda through bots".

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who testified alongside Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey, acknowledged that the company was too slow to respond to Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 USA election, but insisted it is doing better. Some conservatives have done just that, though for many more, it's much easier to complain about bias and argue the law should force private companies to accommodate them. The decision of the social media companies to screen and block negative political advertisements is completely voluntary and they have assured the EC that they will self-censor political content to identify posts that are partisan and which can disturb a level-playing field or involve negative campaigning, fake news, personal attacks and inflammatory content.

Sandberg said that Facebook was "too slow to spot" Russia's purported influence operation and "too slow to act".

We must ask the question 'what is Twitter incentivising people to do (or not do), and why?' The answers will lead to tectonic shifts in how Twitter, and our industry, operates.

Dorsey's prepared testimony also said Twitter has continued to find accounts that may be linked to the Russians, saying 3,843 accounts have been suspended.He also says the company has seen recent activity.

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Conservative Republicans in Congress have criticized social media companies for what they say are politically motivated practices in removing some content, a charge the companies have repeatedly rejected.

Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va. Dorsey replied, "Not today, but that is an area we are looking at and we'd love to be more open as a company, including our algorithms and how they work".

Google, however, risks having an empty chair at the hearing after cofounder Larry Page declined to appear. Walker said in his statement that the company was taking the issue of foreign interference in politics very seriously.

"Clearly, this problem is not going away", Burr said.

Google, which was also invited to the hearing, did not send a representative.

"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 USA technology giants.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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