Twitter, Facebook executives say they've made headway in combating fake user accounts

06 September, 2018, 21:42 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Twitter's Jack Dorsey left and Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg

Dorsey said efforts to clean up Twitter will likely lead to the removal of many accounts, highlighting that Wall Street probably won't appreciate that, but he views these as necessary steps to create the flawless "digital public square" for everyone "There's a perception we wont act because it's not an incentive", he said, "but we see increasing health as a growth factor, not short-term. long-term".

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee to answer questions about their platform's roles in the 2016 USA presidential election and any Russian interference in the democratic process via the social networks.

Executives from numerous largest internet companies will face questions next week at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about their efforts to prevent foreign meddling in the midterm elections in November. Our efforts in recent elections from Germany to Italy to Mexico to the Alabama special Senate election show us that the investments we are making are yielding results.

They also emphasized their business models remain, that means attracting as many users as possible, for as long as possible and finding out as much about users.

"The federal government should not use the threat of law enforcement to limit companies from exercising this right".

Facebook is getting better at finding and "stopping our opponents" from financially motivated troll farms to sophisticated military intelligence operations, she said.

"The committee takes this issue very seriously, and we appreciate that Facebook and Twitter are represented here this morning with an equivalent and appropriate measure of seriousness", Senator Burr of North Carolina said. "We are more determined than our opponents and we will keep fighting".

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Dorsey says Twitter has continued to identify accounts that may be linked to the same Russian internet agency in Mueller's indictment.

"Over the past weeks, President Trump and many Republicans have peddled conspiracy theories about Twitter and other social media platforms to whip up their base and fundraise", said Representative Frank Pallone, the committee's top Democrat.

"We need to question the fundamental incentives that are in our product today", he said. "If we determine that people were subject to any falsehoods or manipulation of any sort, we do need to provide them the full context of that and this is an area of improvement for us and something we're going to be diligent to fix".

"We must ask the question: 'What is Twitter incentivising people to do (or not do), and why?' The answers will lead to tectonic shifts in how Twitter, and our industry, operates. Required changes won't be fast or easy", he said.

"We've chose to focus a lot more on the behavioral patterns that we're seeing across the network", Dorsey told lawmakers. This may tie into accounts taken down due to abusive actions. "I think that ambiguity has given rise to something of a convenient identity crisis, whereby judgments about what is and isn't allowable on social media are too episodic, too reactive, and too unstructured", he said.

Intelligence Committee members raised the prospect for government regulation throughout the hearing, as senators suggested voluntary efforts by the social media companies continue to fall short.

Committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican from North Carolina, and vice chairman Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, both expressed their "disappointment" that Google declined to send what they called an appropriately senior level official.


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