Tech Executives Are Contrite About Election Meddling, but Make Few Promises on Capitol Hill
Executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter appeared on Capitol Hill for the first time on Oct 31 to publicly acknowledge their role in Russia’s influence on the presidential campaign, but offered little more than promises to do better. Their reluctance frustrated lawmakers who sought stronger evidence that American elections will be protected from foreign powers. The hearing, the first of three in two days for company executives, served as an initial public reckoning for the internet giants. They had emphasized their role as public squares for political discourse but are being forced to confront how they were used as tools for a broad Russian misinformation campaign. Both Democrats and some Republicans on a Senate Judiciary subcommittee complained that the companies had waited nearly a year to publicly admit how many Americans were exposed to the Russian effort to spread propaganda during the 2016 campaign. Senators pushed for harsher remedies, including regulations on their advertising practices akin to rules for political advertising on television. The most pointed exchanges were aimed at Facebook, which acknowledged that more than 126 million users potentially saw inflammatory political ads bought by a Kremlin-linked company, the Internet Research Agency. Facebook has drawn particular ire from lawmakers for its early brushoff of fake news and foreign interference on its site, which its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, dismissed as a “crazy idea” just after the election.
Tech Executives Are Contrite About Election Meddling, but Make Few Promises on Capitol Hill Senators grill tech companies about Russian interference, but don’t get very far (The Verge)