Big Tech’s Platform Neutrality Is A Myth.
Congress has put Facebook, Twitter and Google under a public microscope about Russia’s use of their networks to meddle in the 2016 election, after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal investigation disclosed its first indictments and guilty plea. Senators want to know how the companies failed to keep Russians from exploiting their networks and using fake accounts to spread chaos and disinformation. Facebook reported that Russians bought 3,000 Facebook ads mostly with rubles and that posts reached the newsfeeds of 126 million users. “If someone is paying you in rubles to place a political ad, or an ad that is intended to sow the seeds of discontent and discord, that ought to be a red flag,” Senate Intelligence panel member Susan Collins of Maine said in an interview, “How much more of a tipoff do you need?” More than a rehash of 2016, two days of hearings will set the stage for congressional action to try to prevent foreign interference in U.S. campaigns and voting in next year’s congressional and state elections. The companies, in turn, want to use the hearings to portray themselves as eager to find a solution ahead of any bipartisan efforts to impose new regulations on their networks. Credit: Steven T. Dennis, Sarah Frier & Gerrit De Vynck for Bloomberg Technology.
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