After revealing that content created by a Russian internet agency ahead of the 2016 election may have reached up to 126 million users, Facebook—joined by Twitter and Google—went in front of a Senate subcommittee Tuesday to explain what it's done and what it can do to stop foreign agents from using their platforms to impact US elections, the AP reports. While lawyers representing the three tech companies said they will do better to stop "bad actors" in the future, the hearing often turned testy. Here are six of the biggest quotes from Tuesday:
- "This is the national security challenge of the 21st Century," the Washington Post quotes Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham as saying.
- "Senator, we’re not well positioned to judge why any one person or an entire electorate voted as it did," Facebook lawyer Colin Stretch said, denying Facebook could say Russia-linked ads definitively had no impact on the election.
- "American political ads and Russian money, rubles: How could you not connect those two dots!" Democratic Sen. Al Franken said regarding the delay in Facebook reporting the problem.
- “I suspect that your advertising department has watched the profits go up,” Reuters reports Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy told Stretch regarding one possible reason for the delay.
- "The foreign interference we saw is reprehensible ... is an assault on democracy that is directly contrary to our values and violates everything Facebook stands for," Stretch said.
- "I'm trying to get us down from la la land here. You have 5 million advertisers that change every year, every month, probably every second ... You do not have the ability to know about every one of those advertisers, do you?" Republican Sen. John Kennedy said, casting doubt on Facebook's ability to prevent similar problems in the future.
Further hearings are scheduled for Wednesday.
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