Twitter's Dorsey dodges question on whether Trump's tweets are abusive

Larry Page Google

Larry Page is the co-founder of Google Credit David Paul Morris

In the statement, spokesman Devin O'Malley said that the department had monitored a hearing of a Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, where Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) executives defended their companies before skeptical lawmakers.

"We have witnessed abuse, harassment, troll armies, manipulation through bots and human-coordination, misinformation campaigns, and increasingly divisive echo chambers".

Dorsey and other tech titans will be in the USA capital on Wednesday to testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is still probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, along with the general growing influence of social media to disseminate information. Some conservatives have done just that, though for many more, it's much easier to complain about bias and argue the law should force private companies to accommodate them. President Trump has accused the social-media companies of favoring liberal views over conservative ones - and even of interfering in the 2016 and 2018 elections to favor Democrats.

"We were too slow to spot this and too slow to act", Sandberg will say.

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He added, "I know our members have a series of hard questions about structural vulnerabilities on a number of Google's platforms we need answers for".

Naturally, Dorsey said Twitter doesn't "feel great about this", and that the company can't use its scale as an excuse.

The afternoon hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee was to focus on bias and Twitter's algorithms.

Google, however, risks having an empty chair at the hearing after cofounder Larry Page declined to appear.

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In prepared remarks, Dorsey rejected claims that Twitter operates on the basis of political bias.

Also on Wednesday, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in an op-ed piece in the Washington Post, wrote: "It's an arms race, and it will take the combined forces of the U.S. private and public sectors to protect America's democracy from outside interference". The company's Chief Legal Officer Kent Walker sent a written statement, promising to maintain efforts to thwart foreign interference in U.S. elections.

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.

A committee spokesperson said Walker's "commentary" was not testimony, adding, "We wish his enthusiasm for participating in the company's public hearing extended to his company's senior leadership, and that they were willing to answer the committee's questions". "It violated the values of our company and of the country we love".

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