On Wednesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee invited Facebook, Google, and Twitter to testify at a public hearing scheduled for November 1 regarding Russian presence in their platforms and its potential interference in the last Presidential Elections.
The House Intelligence Committee reportedly set a hearing of its own for October with leaders of the technology industry that might or might not include the same trio of companies. Aides close to the matter confirmed the upcoming events to several media sources.
In different ways, each of the three platforms has played a role in the last elections, out of which Donald J. Trump came as a victor. Other sources suggest sites like Reddit are next on the list, as specialists continue to investigate what happened in 2016 and how we ended up where we are in the United States.
I want to respond to President Trump's tweet this morning claiming Facebook has always been against him.Every day I…
Lawmakers want to know how Russia influenced the election
Aides talking to the press confirmed that the intentions of holding such a hearing were to seek a better understanding of how Russia might have used online tools like Facebook, Google, and Twitter in their big scheme to put Donald Trump in the White House.
Recently, Facebook discovered groups linked to the Kremlin had bought ad campaigns on the site and targeted at different sectors of the population to spark controversy by fueling debate about sensitive topics.
Twitter, on the other hand, has been the President’s favorite hub. So much so, in fact, that he refused to give up his original handle and still uses it daily, much to the concern of government officials and to the disappointment of some political factions in America.
Lastly, Google played more of a behind-the-scenes kind of role during the election, showing projections and results throughout Election Day in real time with live updates. It also fought a battle against fake news and misinformation spread during the whole election cycle and beyond.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 27, 2017
Donald Trump goes after Facebook ahead of Senate hearing
Facebook has been busy working on some large-scale modifications to its platform to help avoid incidents of similar nature in the future, including deep changes to its core social network and ad business models.
However, that hasn’t stopped President Trump from going after them, calling the site ‘anti-Trump’ on a tweet sent out earlier this Wednesday. Mark Zuckerberg responded in kind, albeit not directly at the leader to attack him.
The CEO said just that “that’s what a running a platform for all ideas looks like,” and that more money had been spent on campaigns focused on voter registration than in party-tied ads that attempted to influence the election in any way.
Recent investigations show that Russian groups might have impersonated groups like Black Lives Matter and American Muslims to try to stir trouble among both political parties. Special committees have been designated precisely to determine the scope of the influence of such schemes on Facebook.