Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, admitted that her company was “too slow to spot” and “too slow to act,” on Russian election meddling in 2016 through social media, according to a prepared statement she gave to Congress Wednesday in a joint appearance with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
Sandberg and Dorsey appeared in front of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, according to Business Insider. Google chief executive Sundar Pichai and Alphabet CEO Larry Page declined invitations to appear in front of the committee, CNBC noted.
Congress has zeroed in on social media titans like Facebook and Twitter since the 2016 election, charging that Russian operatives freely gamed the networks to interfere in the presidential election to help President Donald Trump.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which roughly 87 million Facebook users allegedly had their information unwittingly obtained, rocked the social media giant. According to Business Insider, Facebook stated it has found additional operations attempting to influence politics in the U.S. and in other countries.
“We were too slow to spot this and too slow to act,” Sandberg wrote in her statement, obtained by CNBC and other news organizations. “That’s on us. This interference was completely unacceptable. It violated the values of our company and of the country we love.
“The actions we’ve taken in response — beginning with the steps Facebook’s general counsel, Colin Stretch, outlined to this committee last year — show our determination to do everything we can to stop this kind of interference from happening. We’re investing heavily in people and technology to keep our community safe and keep our service secure,” the statement continued.
Twitter has come under increasing pressure to boot conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his streaming show Infowars off Twitter, but the social media giant refuses to follow in the footsteps of others like Facebook, YouTube, and Apple. USA Today reported Tuesday that Dorsey was pushing back on reports that he actually vetoed a decision by his Twitter staff to remove Jones.
Time magazine wrote that Dorsey was expected to talk about Twitter’s expanded efforts to guard against malicious bots along with his company’s efforts to add “candidate” labels for the official accounts of politicians.
He was also expected to stress that political ideology is not a consideration in ranking content, something that President Donald Trump has loudly charged against social media outlets – on Twitter.
Google search results for “Trump News” shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake News Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal? 96% of....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2018
Recently, Trump has also come to the defense of Jones and other conservatives, charging that social media companies were banning their voices for purely political reasons.
....results on “Trump News” are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous. Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2018