Facebook, Twitter defend efforts to stop election meddling


Google, however, risks having an empty chair at the hearing after cofounder Larry Page declined to appear.

Facebook and Twitter executives plan to defend their companies in two congressional hearings, arguing that they are aggressively trying to root out foreign actors who want to do the United States harm just weeks before the midterm elections. "We acknowledge the real-world negative consequences of what happened, and we take full responsibility to fix it".

Facebook, Twitter and other technology firms have been on the defensive for many months over political influence activity on their sites as well as concerns over user privacy. USA intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 campaign with the aim of tilting the election in Trump's favor, a finding that Moscow has denied.

The company's No. 2 executive says in prepared testimony ahead of a Senate intelligence committee hearing Wednesday that those adversaries include financially motivated troll farms and "sophisticated military intelligence operations".

"We are troubled by reports that the power of Twitter was misused by a foreign actor for the objective of influencing the USA presidential election and undermining public faith in the democratic process", Twitter General Counsel Sean Edgett told the committee November 2017.

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Laura Rosenberger, the Director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund, told ABC News that likely won't be a problem for the Senate Intelligence Committee, as that committee in particular has been "steeped in understanding the challenges posed by foreign interference".

In a statement to HuffPost, Google said it's been diligent in briefing lawmakers on the political interference issue in the past. On Tuesday it released written "testimony" describing the company's efforts to combat influence operations.

"From a simple business perspective and to serve the public conversation, Twitter is incentivized to keep all voices on the platform".

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.

Democratic Representative David Cicilline blasted Wednesday's hearing and his Republican colleagues, calling claims of political bias baseless.