Facebook, Twitter pledge to defend against foreign intrusion

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey

Facebook and Twitter executives pledged on Wednesday to better protect their social media platforms in the 2018 elections and beyond, and told Congress of aggressive efforts to root out foreign intrusions aimed at sowing divisions in American democracy. The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. ET.

"We have witnessed abuse, harassment, troll armies, manipulation through bots and human-coordination, misinformation campaigns, and increasingly divisive echo chambers".

Engadget reported that during an earlier Senate hearing alongside Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, Dorsey said Twitter was considering preparing a transparency report related to suspended accounts. Like Zuckerberg, she acknowledged Facebook's lag in recognizing Russian efforts to manipulate Facebook during and after the 2016 USA presidential election. Democrat Frank Pallone of New Jersey accused President Trump and Republicans of peddling "conspiracy theories about Twitter and other social media platforms to whip up their base and fund-raise".

"It is definitely a violation and we were slow to act", Dorsey said.

They also asked Alphabet Inc's Google to send a top executive to testify, but declined its offer to dispatch Chief Legal Officer Kent Walker rather than Alphabet Chief Executive Larry Page.

While antitrust concerns against Google and Facebook are to be expected, Eric Goldman of the High-Tech Law Institute of Santa Clara University said it would be troublesome to use antitrust law as a guise for regulating speech.

Dorsey later testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

But Mr Joe Barton, a Republican from Texas, told Mr Dorsey: "We wouldn't be having this discussion if there wasn't a general agreement that your company had discriminated against conservatives".

"This interference was completely unacceptable".

Using Twitter, Trump has attacked companies like Amazon and Google, as well as private citizens like union leader Chuck Jones in 2016.

Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va.

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. The company's Chief Legal Officer Kent Walker sent a written statement, promising to maintain efforts to thwart foreign interference in U.S. elections.

Similarly, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey dismissed any allegations of his company's bias during his testimony.

Last week Trump accused Google's search engine of promoting negative news articles and hiding "fair media" coverage of him, vowing to address the situation without providing evidence or giving details of action he might take.

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