Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter's founder and CEO Jack Dorsey addressed the Senate Intelligence Committee Wednesday morning about how their respective platforms can better protect billions of users against fake news, propaganda, harassment, and hate speech.
Jack Dorsey, chief executive of Twitter, also acknowledged his company's past failures.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has been looking into efforts to influence USA public opinion for more than a year, after USA intelligence agencies concluded that Kremlin-backed entities sought to boost Republican President Donald Trump's chances of winning the White House in 2016. "The actions we've taken in response - beginning with the steps Facebook's General Counsel, Colin Stretch, outlined to this Committee past year - show our determination to do everything we can to stop this kind of interference from happening".
Top executives from social media behemoths Facebook and Twitter are set to testify Wednesday before lawmakers about the ongoing threat of foreign influence operations on their platforms, as the shadow of possible Russian interference looms over the 2018 midterm elections.
Facebook and Twitter executives, defending their companies on Capitol Hill, said Wednesday they are aggressively trying to root out foreign interests seeking to sow divisions in American democracy as the November elections near.
While there will likely be some technical discussions during the testimony, Dorsey may face some tough questions from the House.
The later hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee was to focus on bias and Twitter's algorithms.
On bias, the Twitter CEO said in prepared testimony before his second hearing that "Twitter does not use political ideology to make any decisions, whether related to ranking content on our service or how we enforce our rules".
Last week Trump accused Google's search engine of promoting negative news articles and hiding "fair media" coverage of him, vowing to address the situation without providing evidence or giving details of action he might take.
In the Senate, both Burr and Warner pressed the social media companies to do more. Instead, a spokesperson for the committee said they may just leave a chair empty next to Sandberg and Dorsey.
Google did release written "testimony" from Walker ahead of the hearing, even though he was not expected to appear.
In a statement to HuffPost, Google said it's been diligent in briefing lawmakers on the political interference issue in the past.