Tony Romm

DC attorney general sues Facebook over alleged privacy violations from Cambridge Analytica scandal

The attorney general for the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against Facebook for allowing Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy, to gain access to the names, "likes" and other personal data about tens of millions of the social site's users without their permission. The lawsuit filed by Karl Racine marks the first major effort by regulators in the US to penalize the tech giant for its entanglement with the firm. It could presage even tougher fines and other punishments still to come for Facebook as additional state and federal investigations continue.

New report on Russian disinformation, prepared for the Senate, shows the operation’s scale and sweep

A report prepared for the Senate that provides the most sweeping analysis yet of Russia’s disinformation campaign around the 2016 election found the operation used every major social media platform to deliver words, images and videos tailored to voters’ interests to help elect President Donald Trump — and worked even harder to support him while in office. The report is the first to study the millions of posts provided by major technology firms to the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), its chairman, and Sen. Mark Warner (VA), its ranking Democrat.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai Faces Privacy and Bias Questions in Congress

Google’s chief executive, in perhaps the most public display of lawmakers’ unease with his company’s influence, was grilled about everything from search result bias and the data Google collects about its users to plans for a censored service in China. Sundar Pichai, an engineer who rose through Google’s ranks to become its leader three years ago, faced more than three hours of questions from the House Judiciary Committee. Republicans expressed concerns about unfair treatment of conservatives, and lawmakers in both parties zeroed in on privacy issues.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg rejects request to testify in front of seven countries’ lawmakers — but a lower-level official will appear

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has declined to testify at a rare joint hearing with lawmakers from seven countries, representing more than 368 million people. Instead, Facebook will dispatch Richard Allan, the company’s vice president of policy solutions, to answer questions at a Nov 27 hearing featuring top policymakers from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Latvia, Singapore and the United Kingdom.

Facebook says it removed a flood of hate speech, terrorist propaganda and fake accounts from its site

Facebook said it had removed more than a billion fake accounts and taken action against millions of posts, photos and other forms of content that violated its prohibition against hate speech, terrorist propaganda and child exploitation, the latest sign that the social-networking giant faces an onslaught of online abuse as it builds tools to spot it.

Forget the Russians. On this Election Day, it’s Americans peddling disinformation and hate speech.

 Even as Silicon Valley has become more aggressive in battling foreign efforts to influence US politics, it is losing innumerable cat-and-mouse games with Americans who are eagerly deploying the same techniques used by the Russians in 2016. “Everyone’s witnessed the playbook playing out,” said former FBI agent Clint Watts, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. “Now they don’t need Russia so much.

Top Facebook, Apple and Google executives have donated little in the 2018 midterms, two years after clashing with President Trump

The top executives at Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft have stayed on the political sidelines during the 2018 midterm elections, opting not to donate to federal candidates who might advance Silicon Valley’s political agenda — or battle back President Donald Trump. Two years ago, these tech leaders emerged as some of President Trump’s biggest critics, challenging his administration publicly on issues including immigration, climate change and gender equality.

How Silicon Valley is trying to help Democrats capture Congress in 2018

As voters prepare to head to the polls, the tech industry’s talented, well-heeled engineers and entrepreneurs have been plugging into Democratic campaigns around the country.

Facebook suspends ‘inauthentic’ Iranian accounts that criticized President Trump and spread divisive political messages

Facebook announced that it had suspended 82 pages, groups and accounts that originated in Iran for engaging in "coordinated inauthentic behavior" and sharing divisive political messages, including opposition to President Donald Trump. The accounts -- some of which also had been removed from Facebook’s photo-sharing site, Instagram -- do not appear to have clear "ties to the Iranian government,” but Facebook could not say for certain who was behind them.

New data show how Iran tried to manipulate public opinion on Twitter

Twitter accounts originating in Iran masqueraded as foreign journalists and concerned US citizens in their attempt to push political messages on the social media site until they were suspended earlier in 2018.