Lawmakers come down hard on Google for skipping Senate hearing

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey reportedly stepped in to save Alex Jones Richard Spencer from bans

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey reportedly overruled his staff's decision to ban Alex Jones

Transparency reports have become standard among major tech companies like Facebook and Google as a way to partially reveal their interactions with the federal government.

Top executives from Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc defended their companies in the US Congress on Wednesday over what lawmakers see as a failure to combat continuing foreign efforts to influence US politics.

Facebook FB.O fell 1.6 percent and Twitter TWTR.N 5.2 percent.

Lawmakers instead questioned Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg about steps their companies are taking to reduce foreign platform manipulation on their platforms.

Ahead of Wednesday's hearings, Trump, without offering evidence, accused social media companies of interfering in the congressional elections, telling the Daily Caller conservative website that social media firms are "super liberal".

The hearing comes after Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, said last month that Russian Federation has continued to attempt the kinds of online influence operations it allegedly ran on the social platforms to spread false information and sow divisiveness ahead of the 2016 USA presidential election.

"My view is personal data is now the weapon of choice for political influence campaigns and we must not make it easier for our adversaries to seize these weapons and use them against us", Wyden said while discussing ways Congress can assist in this issue.

Trump was quoted as saying in the interview on Tuesday that "I think they already have" interfered. Mark Warner (D-VA). He wants new regulations for these companies.

At a separate Senate hearing earlier on Wednesday, Dorsey and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg faced threats of legislative action from skeptical lawmakers over what many members of Congress see as a failure to block fake accounts and other foreign efforts to influence USA politics.

"The premise of this whole hearing and the reason that Twitter somehow... got the singular honor to sit in front of this committee", Doyle said, "is because there's some implication that your site is trying to censor conservative voices on your platform".

Dorsey will testify on Capitol Hill Wednesday.

Trump faulted Twitter on July 26, without citing any evidence, for limiting the visibility of prominent Republicans through a practice known as shadow banning.

Only after CNN highlighted several tweets that clearly violated Twitter's TOS did the social media platform suspend Jones - and only for one week.

Many senators expressed anger at Google, which was represented in the hearing room by an empty chair next to Sandberg.

Google, which was also invited to the hearing, did not send a representative.

Senate leaders rejected Google's offer to make Kent Walker, its senior vice president and chief legal officer, available for the hearings.

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