Google A No-Show As Facebook, Twitter Executives Testify To Senate Panel

Posted September 05, 2018

As a social media platform, Twitter is caught in a dilemma: either it gets flak for hate content remaining on the service, or it gets criticized for removing the content - likely as a perceived affront to free speech or as a show of what US President Donald Trump would call political bias.

"Maybe I did a better job because I'm good with the Twitter and I'm good at social media, but the truth is they were all on Hillary Clinton's side, and if you look at what was going on with Facebook and with Google and all of it, they were very much on her side", Trump told the Caller.

But no executive from Alphabet's Google is expected to testify, after the company declined the Senate Intelligence Committee's request to send one of its most senior executives, frustrating lawmakers. "We were too slow to spot this and too slow to act". Twitter has been accused by some of suppressing conservative voices on the platform - which the company denied in July.

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

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The afternoon hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Committee will feature only Dorsey in a hearing focused on bias and the platform's algorithms. The hearing is part of an ongoing effort to address evidence of Russian meddling during the 2016 election cycle. "It violated the values of our company and of the country we love". Sandberg said the company is making changes to its advertisement system, letting users know who paid for what, and is working to more efficiently identify false information. Sandberg's mea culpa, however, appears to mirror that of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose appearance before Capitol Hill in April was widely panned by lawmakers as a glorified apology tour. He says Twitter has so far suspended 3,843 accounts the company believes are linked to the agency, and has seen recent activity.

To kick off his opening statement, Dorsey picked up his phone and said he would be tweeting out his prepared testimony. In testimony released before that hearing, Dorsey denied that Twitter uses political ideology to make decisions.

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