02 November 2017 - Black & Blonde Media Productions

Russia, Social Media Collusion and the Election

But wait; there's more! https://www.blackandblondemedia.com/2017/11/02/facebook-russians-successfully-triggered-liberals-resist-trump/ FAIR USE The use of ...

we've been tracking threat actors for

for several years yes before the 2016 election cycle yes that's correct okay did you find activity after the election yes we did okay what happened after the election following the election the activity we've seen really continued in the sense that if you view the activity as a whole we saw this concerted effort to so division and discord in the wake of the election and now president Trump's election we saw a lot of activity directed at fomenting discord about the validity of his election you know I recognize that a lot of folks in the media are and even some members of this committee are praising your companies for taking active steps to police some of the content on your sites but I have to note that doing so raises troublesome concerns at the same time particularly given the percentage of news and political information that Americans receive online through social media or through other online avenues the prospect of Silicon Valley companies actively censoring the speech or the news content is troubling to anyone who cares about a democratic process with a robust First Amendment take one example which is Google in December of 2015 a

professor at Northwestern University conducted a study analyzing Google search results he searched for the names of all six in presidential candidates at the time and discovered that Democrats on average had seven favorable search results among Google's top ten and Republican candidates had 5.9 positive articles and indeed of the major candidates at the time Hillary Clinton had five positive search results and only one negative on the first page Donald Trump had four positive and three negative search results on the first page Bernie Sanders had nine positive results without a single negative result on the first page and a final candidate the junior senator from Texas had a total of zero positive results on the first page you may well have been citing my colleague from Minnesota on that page that is outrageous I will note I will say if there were a Franken filter that might be popular that same professor ran a second study and found the vast majority of news outlets that were represented in Google searches were left-leaning it's not just Google 2016 was revealed that

Facebook was quote curating the list of trending news stories on their website according to reports Facebook workers were artificially spiking conservative stories including stories about former IRS official Lois Lerner former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and positive stories about conservative politicians the reports also revealed that stories by conservative outlets like the Washington Examiner Newsmax that were popular enough to be picked up by Facebook's trending stories algorithm were nonetheless excluded until the New York Times and CNN began covering the same stories just last month twitter barred representative Marsha Blackburn from advertising her campaign launch video because it deemed a line about her efforts to investigate Planned Parenthood to be inflammatory the susan b anthony list recently had a video advertisement against a political candidate blocked on twitter because it referred to partial-birth abortion as being akin to infanticide now that those are all political positions but people can take in our democratic society but it is disconcerting if those political could positions become a lens through

which the american consumers consume news so i want to ask each of you do you consider your sites mister adjutant mister stretch to be neutral public fora senator senator we we think of facebook as a platform for all ideas and we we have boundaries in the sense that we don't permit certain categories of content such as hate speech but within those guidelines we do not in any way discriminate on the basis of viewpoint or ideology so i'm just trying to understand is that a yes or no whether you consider yourself to be a neutral public forum we don't you we don't think of it in the terms of neutral because what we're trying to do actually is provide each user a personalized news feed that will be the content that's most interesting to that user but we do think of ourselves as again within the boundaries that i described open to all ideas without regard to viewpoint or ideology miss traget same question a free expression and free speech is at the core of the twitter twitter mission and we do everything we can to enable that obviously balancing things like mister stretch said against violence violent threats or abuse and

harassment but we believe that allowing the public and open platform that the twitter serves its community is one that's important to debate and discussion and mr. chairman if I can ask a final question I'm at the end of my time but how do you respond airman I'm not gonna object but I would note that chairman you and I are the only two have sat through all of this today and I would like to have a chance to ask a question before you we'll hold questions but of course I'll let surgically go ahead how do both of you respond to the public concerns and growing concerns that your respective company and other Silicon Valley companies are putting a thumb on the scale of political debate and shifting it in ways consistent with the political views of your employees senator again we we think of ourselves as a platform of all idea for all ideas and we and we aspire to that we are acutely aware of the possibility of of conscious bias across a range of issues not just politics and we train our employees on that for that precise reason we want to make sure that

people's own biases are not brought to bear and how we manage the platform similar face or at Twitter we are spending a lot of time training these employees who are looking at user reports on organic tweets we have stricter policies around advertising it's like the one you referenced is an example of that where since we are serving those ads to to folks who aren't following the accounts and haven't asked to see the content we want to make sure it's always a positive experience but even there we're making tough calls and we're learning from from mistakes and revising policies and procedures going forward but but our goal and our one of our fundamental principles of the company is to remain impartial [Music]

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