Justice Dept. to examine social media giants 'stifling' free speech

Justice Dept. to examine social media giants 'stifling' free speech

Justice Dept. to examine social media giants 'stifling' free speech

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.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on a number of issues regarding the social media giant, including Republican complaints of alleged censorship of conservatives.

During that hearing, it's likely Dorsey will face questions about - and push back against - accusations of political bias against Republicans. "It violated the values of our company and of the country we love".

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions plans to meet with state attorneys general this month to discuss whether social media companies are stifling free expression, according to a statement released today.

"We believe strongly in being impartial, and we strive to enforce our rules impartially", he said.

"We need to seriously think about whether the time has come for these companies to abide by new transparency obligations", Pai said in a blog post.

Shares of some of the world's largest tech companies were taking a beating Wednesday as executives from Twitter and Facebook testified before Congress. "I can't understand her?" Congress has criticized social media companies during the past year as it became clear they were on the front lines during Russia's interference in the 2016 elections and beyond.

I know our members have a series of hard questions about structural vulnerabilities on a number of Google platforms that we all need answers for - from Google search, which continues to have problems surfacing absurd conspiracies, to YouTube, where Russian-backed disinformation agents promoted hundreds of divisive videos, to Gmail where state-sponsored operatives attempted countless hacking attemps. "That's on us. This interference was completely unacceptable".

The statement did not name Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc but the companies have been criticised for what some see as an effort to exclude conservative voices. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence pointedly set up an empty chair to shame Google parent company Alphabet.

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. The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. ET.

The companies have conveyed to the commission that all sponsored content in favour of a political party, political leader or candidate will flag the concerned sponsor and the amount paid for posting the content on Facebook, WhatsApp (owned by Facebook), Google or Twitter.

Richard Burr, R-N.C., the chairman of the committee, said in his opening remarks.

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