Lawyers from Facebook, Twitter, and Google started two days of hearings on how Russia allegedly used their services to try to sway the 2016 U.S. elections. Fred Katayama reports.
Lawyers from Facebook, Twitter, and Google came to Capitol Hill for two days of hearings. The hearings are on how Russia allegedly used their services to try to sway the 2016 U.S. elections. The first one was held at the U.S. Senate's crime subcommittee. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina: (SOUNDBITE) Lindsey Graham, Senator, Republican - South Carolina (ENGLISH) SAYING: "What we have to be on guard as a nation is having people, who want to undermine our way of life, using these platforms against us, and, I think, this is the national security challenge of the 21st Century." At stake for the Silicon Valley companies are their public images. There is also a threat of tougher advertising regulations. FAO Economics Bob Brusca. (SOUNDBITE) ROBERT BRUSCA, CHIEF ECONOMIST, FAO ECONOMICS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think it's good for them to get exposed to the kind of comments that they're going to get from politicians in Washington, who care about the news being manipulated, and their records and the facts about them being alleged and distorted, you know. I think it's very good. But the question is whether Congress is going to step hard on them, pressure them, and whether the executives see the need to make any changes, and whether they are going and whether there's going to be a suggestion of any oversight." A day before the hearings started, Facebook told Congress that 126 million Americans may have seen politically divisive posts that originated in Russia. That's in addition to 3,000 U.S. political ads that Facebook says Russians bought on its platform. Google and Twitter have also said that people in Russia used their services to spread messages in the run-up to last year's U.S. presidential election. The Russian government has denied it intended to influence the election.