Google snubs Senate hearings on election meddling

Sheryl Sandberg will tell the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday that Facebook was "too slow to spot" Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election and "too slow to act", according to an opening statement the Facebook chief operating officer released Tuesday.

And Dorsey said Twitter was "unprepared and ill-equipped" to defend users against nefarious actors that have gamed the platform's services.

The hearing was called amid fears that the United States midterm elections could again become a battleground for false and misleading claims whipped up on social media to influence voters.

Top executives from Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc defended their companies in the US Congress on Wednesday over what lawmakers see as a failure to combat continuing foreign efforts to influence US politics.

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

The committee wanted Larry Page, the Chief Executive Officer of Google's parent company Alphabet, to testify as well, but the company insisted on sending a lower-level official, drawing the lawmakers' ire.

In prepared testimony released by Facebook Tuesday, Sandberg said that Facebook was "too slow to spot" Russia's purported influence operation and "too slow to act".

Trump told the conservative news outlet in an interview conducted on Tuesday that "I think they already have" interfered in the November 6 election.

"We fixed it", Dorsey said.

Democratic Representative David Cicilline blasted Wednesday's hearing and his Republican colleagues, calling claims of political bias baseless.

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

Many senators expressed anger at Google, which was represented in the hearing room by an empty chair next to Sandberg.

Executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google are facing two hearings in Congress today, including the Senate Intelligence Committee. Rubio slams movie for omitting Armstrong planting American flag on the moon MORE (R-Fla.), who's also on the committee, suggested Google didn't attend either "because they're arrogant" or because of aBuzzFeed News story published Tuesday that showed researchers reportedly posing as Russian trolls were able to purchase ads on the search platform.

Google, which was also invited to the hearing, did not send a representative.

The news is the latest sign that the U.S. government, which has so far been reluctant to regulate internet companies, is scrutinising them more closely.

  • Latoya Cobb