DOJ: We will examine social media firms that "may be hurting competition"

Facebook and Twitter executives are insisting in two congressional hearings Wednesday they are aggressively trying to identify foreign actors who want to inflict damage on the us before the November midterm elections.

Sandberg is scheduled to appear before the lawmakers as a representative of Facebook alongside Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Wednesday morning.

Google was also invited to attend the Senate hearing but declined to send its chief executive Sundar Pichai or parent firm Alphabet chief Larry Page.

The committee is likely to ask the technology executives about efforts to reduce disinformation on their sites, as well as steps taken to reduce the number of automated "bot" accounts.

Dorsey later testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

But President Trump and a number of Republicans have prioritized concern that tech companies discriminate against conservatives with bias in treatment and so-called "shadow banning". "I'm not even sure it's trending in the right direction".

Facebook came under fire for being at the forefront of Russia's interference in the 2016 election. "Congress is going to have to take action here", Warner said.

The Senate hearing was the first of two on Capitol Hill focusing on social media, ahead of a House panel session where Dorsey was to speak on "transparency and accountability".


Prior to the hearing, President Donald Trump in an interview with the Daily Caller accused social media companies of interfering in the US mid-term elections in November, without appearing to offer any evidence.

Social media companies have always been accused of stifling conservative views on their platforms, most recently by Donald Trump. Late last month, Trump railed against the internet giant, claiming its liberal bias was evident in the results of a "Trump News" search.

Republicans control majorities in both the Senate and House, but the House's approach to the election issue has been far more partisan than in the Senate.

Meanwhile, senators are debating new laws to regulate social-media companies.

The companies have conveyed to the commission that all sponsored content in favour of a political party, political leader or candidate will flag the concerned sponsor and the amount paid for posting the content on Facebook, WhatsApp (owned by Facebook), Google or Twitter.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) suggested the company might have bailed because it was "arrogant", while Sen.

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". The company's Chief Legal Officer Kent Walker sent a written statement, promising to maintain efforts to thwart foreign interference in United States elections.


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