Empty Chair Says It All: Senate Is Annoyed With Google

Sheryl Sandberg, Jack Dorsey appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 5, 2018 11:05 AM CDT
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An empty chair reserved for Google's parent Alphabet, which refused to send its top executive, is seen as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, accompanied by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
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(Newser) – Facebook and Twitter executives, defending their companies on Capitol Hill, said Wednesday they're aggressively trying to root out foreign interests seeking to sow divisions in American democracy as the November elections near. Facebook's No. 2 executive, Sheryl Sandberg, and Twitter's CEO, Jack Dorsey, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, but there was, quite literally, an empty chair in place for Google's parent Alphabet, which refused to send its top executive, reports the AP. What you need to know:

  • As for how the company reacted to foreign efforts to use its platform as a way to meddle in US elections, "We were too slow to spot this and too slow to act. That is on us," Sandberg said, per USA Today. "We're getting better at finding and stopping our opponents." Sandberg told senators that Facebook was "more determined" than adversaries trying to meddling in the upcoming elections, and she called the fight an "arms race," as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has in the past.
  • "The companies have made progress, the government has made progress, but the bad guys have made progress as well," said Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate committee. Warner has proposed ways that the companies could be regulated for the first time.

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