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Social Media Giants To US Lawmakers Over Political Issues

Trump faulted Twitter on July 26, without citing any evidence, for limiting the visibility of prominent Republicans through a practice known as shadow banning.

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Facebook investors want Mark Zuckerberg to resign: Report. Pixabay
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Top Twitter and Facebook executives will defend their companies before U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday, with Facebook insisting it takes election interference seriously and Twitter denying its operations are influenced by politics.

But no executive from Alphabet’s Google is expected to testify, after the company declined the Senate Intelligence Committee’s request to send one of its most senior executives, frustrating lawmakers.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, appearing alongside Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey, will say that her company’s efforts to combat foreign influence have improved since the 2016 U.S. election, according to written testimony released Tuesday.

“The actions we’ve taken in response … show our determination to do everything we can to stop this kind of interference from happening,” Sandberg said.

The company is getting better at finding and removing “inauthentic” content and now has more than 20,000 people working on safety and security, she said.

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Facebook ads linked to a Russian effort to disrupt the American political process are displayed as Google, Facebook and Twitter officials testify during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 1, 2017. Top Twitter and Facebook executives will defend their companies before U.S. lawmakers. VOA

Technology executives have repeatedly testified in Congress over the past year, on the defensive over political influence activity on their sites as well as concerns about user privacy.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has been looking into efforts to influence U.S. public opinion for more than a year, after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Kremlin-backed entities sought to boost Republican Donald Trump’s chances of winning the White House in 2016.

Moscow has denied involvement.

Google offered to send its chief legal officer, Kent Walker, to Wednesday’s hearing, but he was rejected by the committee, which said it wanted to hear from corporate decision-makers.

‘Don’t understand the problem’

Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, the committee’s Republican chairman, said he expected the hearing would focus on solutions to the problem of foreign efforts to influence U.S. elections and sow political discord, with a jab at Google.

“You don’t understand the problem if you don’t see this as a large effort from whole of government and the private sector,” Burr told reporters at the Senate.

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Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., speaks at a committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

Google said Walker would be in Washington on Wednesday and be available to meet with lawmakers. On Tuesday it released written “testimony” describing the company’s efforts to combat influence operations.

Twitter’s Dorsey also will testify at a House of Representatives hearing on Wednesday that the company “does not use political ideology to make any decisions,” according to written testimony also made public Tuesday.

Dorsey will appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, addressing Republican concerns about how the social media platform polices content.

“From a simple business perspective and to serve the public conversation, Twitter is incentivized to keep all voices on the platform,” Dorsey said.

Conservative Republicans in Congress have criticized social media companies for what they say are politically motivated practices in removing some content, a charge the companies have repeatedly rejected.

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Facebook, Twitter to Face US Lawmakers Over Politics, Internet Pixabay

Trump faulted Twitter on July 26, without citing any evidence, for limiting the visibility of prominent Republicans through a practice known as shadow banning.

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Democratic Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island blasted Wednesday’s hearing and his Republican colleagues, calling claims of political bias baseless.

“There is no evidence that the algorithms of social networks or search results are biased against conservatives. It is a made-up narrative pushed by the conservative propaganda machine to convince voters of a conspiracy that does not exist,” Cicilline said.

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Twitter Confirms Third-Party Involvement in Crypto Hackings

The scam is made to seem more trustworthy as various other compromised accounts reply to the tweet claiming that it works

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Twitter confirms third-party involvement in crypto hackings. Pixabay

Micro-blogging site Twitter has confirmed that a third party software provider is responsible for the series of cryptocurrency-related hackings on its platform.

A Twitter spokesperson said attackers exploited a third-party marketing solution to blast fake Bitcoin giveaway links from a slew of verified accounts, The Next Web reported on Friday.

The confirmation comes days after a number of high-profile public figures and brands including Elon Musk and Google got their accounts breached to propagate malicious cryptocurrency giveaway links.

To make the accounts appear legitimate, the scammers used accounts with Twitter’s own verification mark.

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Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

In such cases, clicking on any of the links in the scam guided users to a page where they were urged to send anywhere from 0.1-one Bitcoin to the scammers — with the promise that they would receive one-10 Bitcoin as a reward, the media had reported.

But the victims never received any Bitcoin after sending money to the scammers.

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The scam is made to seem more trustworthy as various other compromised accounts reply to the tweet claiming that it works.

“The confirmation the hackings originated from a third-party app explains how the attackers managed to run the Bitcoin giveaway scam at such a large scale and in such an organised manner,” the report added. (IANS)