Published: Wed, September 05, 2018
IT | By Emmett Cole

Google snubs Senate hearings on election meddling

Google snubs Senate hearings on election meddling

"What happened in the 2016 election cycle was unacceptable", said Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, in prepared remarks.

Twitter isn't biased for or against any type of partisan but is working on ways to raise the level of debate on its platform, the company's CEO will tell a Senate hearing in Washington, D.C., today.

Top Google officials, including Larry Page, CEO of parent company Alphabet, and Sundar Pichai, CEO of the Google brand, declined invitations from congressional leaders to testify at the hearings. Follow the live blog below. Twitter has been accused by some of suppressing conservative voices on the platform - which the company denied in July. "We were too slow to spot this and too slow to act".

The hearing was the fourth in a series examining how social media platforms have evolved from fun time-wasters into what the committee chair, Senator Richard Burr, called "a threat to our democracy". Thirteen Russians were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller earlier this year on charges of an elaborate plot to disrupt the 2016 USA presidential election by creating fake accounts that pushed divisive issues on social media. The hearing is part of an ongoing effort to address evidence of Russian meddling during the 2016 election cycle.

"Twitter does not have the broad number of revenue drivers that Facebook has as far as messenger and Instagram, nor does it have the development infrastructure for new applications the way Facebook does, so that's why it is selling off more", Tigress Financial Partners analyst Ivan Feinseth said. Still, Sandberg says the company's overall understanding of the Russian activity in 2016 is limited "because we do not have access to the information or investigative tools" that the USA government has.

"We didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake, and it was my mistake, and I'm sorry", Zuckerberg told lawmakers.

Dorsey said Twitter has continued to identify accounts that may be linked to the same Russian internet agency as identified in Mueller's indictment.

In a statement, Twitter denied Dorsey was involved in either decision.

Sanderberg and Dorsey's appearance is set to take place at 9:30 a.m. ET before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

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