Facebook, Twitter say they are not heading to China

Facebook, Twitter say they are not heading to China

Facebook, Twitter say they are not heading to China

Twitter chief executive officer Jack Dorsey takes his seat as he arrives for a House Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing about Twitter's transparency and accountability, on Capitol Hill, September 5, 2018 in Washington, DC.

The social media executives underwent questioning before the Senate Intelligence Committee Wednesday.

Twitter's Dorsey, who has come under fire in recent weeks for remaining more "hands-off," said the social network was unprepared for what the election brought to its platform.

The US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has expressed a "growing concern" that social media companies may be "intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas" on their platforms, the Department of Justice confirmed on Wednesday. The decision of the social media companies to screen and block negative political advertisements is completely voluntary and they have assured the EC that they will self-censor political content to identify posts that are partisan and which can disturb a level-playing field or involve negative campaigning, fake news, personal attacks and inflammatory content.

Conservatives say they're proponents of free speech and free markets, and while that doesn't mean they have to like the political biases of the people who run Twitter and Facebook, they should at least respect a private company's right to promote some views over others. "We believe strongly in being impartial, and we strive to enforce our rules impartially", Dorsey said in his prepared statement. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence pointedly set up an empty chair to shame Google parent company Alphabet.

Twitter's Dorsey was to follow his Senate testimony with an appearance at an afternoon hearing looking at that issue in the House of Representatives. "I'm not even sure it's trending in the right direction", he added.

There might also be overall uncertainty about the future of Twitter, now that Dorsey has publicly said the company is fundamentally rethinking core parts of the business. "Please help us Mr. President before it is too late because Jack Dorsey is trying to influence the election!"

Executives from the companies, which have repeatedly denied political bias, have traveled to Washington several times to testify in Congress, including 10 hours of questioning of Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg over two days in April.

Trump faulted Twitter on July 26, without citing any evidence, for limiting the visibility of prominent Republicans through a practice known as shadow banning. "It violated the values of our company and of the country we love", Sandberg said in her written statement, which Facebook shared with Fortune. All together, 74 percent of Facebook users say they have taken at least one of these three actions in the past year.

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