Sci-tech

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Contemplates Social Media Crackdown

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Contemplates Social Media Crackdown

Top executives from Twitter and Facebook vowed to Congress on Wednesday to continue their internal campaigns to rid their powerhouse social media platforms of inauthentic accounts used to spread misinformation. "In particular, law enforcement should not threaten social media companies with unfounded investigations for booting white nationalists like Richard Spencer off their platforms".

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who testified alongside Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey, acknowledged to the Senate Intelligence Committee that the company was too slow to respond to Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election and general American political discourse, but insisted it is doing better. They have always censored speech to attract advertisers and prevent harm against users, whether it's pictures of female nipples, bullying and harassment, or terrorist propaganda.

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

The committee also took a shot at Alphabet CEO Larry Page, who declined an invitation to appear, by leaving out an empty chair.

He added, "I know our members have a series of hard questions about structural vulnerabilities on a number of Google's platforms we need answers for".

Another, more complex, issue may arise when Mr Dorsey testifies later in the afternoon in front of the House Energy. 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". "That's on us. This interference was completely unacceptable".

Twitter, Facebook and Google deny political bias, but they are all private companies with their own terms of service.

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

After his stint at the Senate, Dorsey faced off with House members at a second hearing where GOP lawmakers accused Twitter of trying to silence conservative voices. He said Twitter has so far suspended 3,843 accounts the company believes are linked to that agency and has seen recent activity.

In prepared testimony released Tuesday before a Senate hearing Wednesday, Twitter chief executive officer Jack Dorsey says, "Twitter does not use political ideology to make any decisions, whether related to ranking content on our service or how we enforce our rules". The company's Chief Legal Officer Kent Walker sent a written statement, promising to maintain efforts to thwart foreign interference in United States elections.

Sandberg said reaching China's large population would be important to Facebook's mission of connecting the world but added that "in order to go into China, we would have to be able to do so in keeping with our values, and that's not possible right now".


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