Congress grills tech firms over foreign influence

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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.

Interested in Facebook? Add Facebook as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Facebook news, video, and analysis from ABC News. Google, however, risks having an empty chair at the hearing after cofounder Larry Page declined to appear.

Dorsey told Rep. McMorris Rodgers, "our current model works in terms of removing content based on reports that we receive and we don't believe that that is fair ultimately, we don't believe that we should put the burden of reporting abuse or harassment on the victim". Many members of Congress fault social media platforms for failing to combat foreign efforts to influence USA politics. But we are even more determined - and we will continue to fight back.

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

"In the absence of substantive explanations, users have been left to wonder why search results look the way they do, or why some posts get removed and others don't", wrote Tarleton Gillespie in Techdirt.

"This interference was completely unacceptable".

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".

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FILE PHOTO: Jack Dorsey, CEO and co-founder of Twitter and founder and CEO of Square, speaks at the Consensus 2018 blockchain technology conference in New York City, New York, U.S., May 16, 2018.

The company is getting better at finding and removing "inauthentic" content and now has more than 20,000 people working on safety and security, she said. Earlier this year Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before lawmakers in part to explain how the personal information of tens of millions of Facebook users ended up in the hands of the United Kingdom -based data firm Cambridge Analytica.

"I fear the Republicans are using this hearing for those purposes instead of addressing the serious issues raised by social media platforms that affect Americans' everyday lives", he said.

Senators scolded Google executives for not showing up to the hearings Wednesday.

He acknowledged that the company's systems now place the burden of reporting threats on the victim, but said Twitter is committed to "build algorithms to proactively look for when these things are occurring and take action".

Earlier this year the company said it was taking aggressive measures to combat inauthentic accounts.

Twitter's Dorsey also will testify at a House of Representatives hearing on Wednesday that the company "does not use political ideology to make any decisions", according to written testimony also made public on Tuesday. Both contrasted with Zuckerberg's sometimes awkward defiance at the April hearings as he fielded questions from skeptical lawmakers.

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