Facebook, Twitter and Google: Johnny come latelies
Facebook, Twitter and Google defended their security measures and promised to do more to stop the misuse of their platforms by a foreign power. Richard Salgado, director of law enforcement and information security at Google, said: “We take this seriously. We’ve made changes and will continue to get better.”
But some senators were sceptical. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat of Vermont, called the companies “Johnny come latelies” and said: “There’s a lot that I think you could have done earlier.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein highlighted fake pages such as “Black Matters US” and “United Muslims of America”, which Russians used a custom audience tool to target. Stretch described such attempts to exploit divisions in society as “vile” and “cynical” and said there have been changes to ad targeting policies with added layers of review.
Senator Chris Coons struck a similar tone to Franken and again Facebook bore the brunt. He drew attention to an advert that claimed Hillary Clinton, along with Barack Obama, was despised by Americans and the army should be withdrawn from her control. Another advertised a non-existent “miners for Trump” rally. People were “duped”, Coons said.
Stretch responded: “That advertisement has no place on Facebook and we are committted to preventing that sort of behaviour happening again on our platform. You’re right to surface it. It makes me angry, it makes everyone angry.”
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