Twitter shares plunge by six per cent as CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg are quizzed by senators who threaten them with regulation

Wednesday, September 5, 2018
By Paul Martin

The top tech executives face continuing pressure over overseas efforts to manipulate Americans through fake media posts and bots
Twitter and Facebook CEOs testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has been conducting a Russia probe
Sandberg said her firm has removed hundreds of fake accounts
U.S. intelligence concluded the Kremlin used the platforms to try to sway the election
Google wasn’t there, after spat over how high an executive they would send
Lawmakers blasted the decision by parent company Alphabet
President Trump has claimed search engines are biased against conservative news and even suggested regulating Google
‘Twitter does not use political ideology to make any decisions, whether related to ranking content on our service or how we enforce our rules’
Senators threaten congressional action against tech companies
‘The era of the Wild West in social media is coming to an end,’ said Democratic Senator Mark Warner

5 September 2018

Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter boss Jack Dorsey become the latest tech executives to get a grilling from Congress over foreign manipulation Tuesday, where angry Republicans also probe them on President Donald Trump’s charges of bias.

The pair appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee as Russian election meddling continues to loom over Congress with the mid-terms just two months away – and the value of both company stocks took an immediate dive.

Twitter’s stock plunged 6 per cent during Dorsey’s testimony. By early afternoon, it was off 5 per cent.

Early in the hearing, panel vice chair Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia said regulation is in the cards.

‘Congress is going to have to take action here,’ said Warner, who was a telecomm investor before he came to Congress. ‘The era of the Wild West in social media is coming to an end,’ he said.

Facebook’s stock was down nearly 2 per cent at the start of the hearing.

Some lawmakers immediately took shots at another tech giant, Google, who wasn’t there. The firm, the subject of recent complaints by Trump about supposed anti-conservative bias in search programs – was represented by an empty chair next to its tech competitors.

Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio said executives ‘don’t want to be here to answer these questions,’ then posited: ‘Maybe because they’re arrogant.’

Google’s parent company Alphabet was also down almost 2 per cent.

President Trump warned last week the firms were ‘treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful.’

Twitter shares were down 6 per cent in trading during Dorsey’s testimony, CNBC reported.

Trump has called Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe a ‘witch hunt,’ but the intelligence community has concluded that the Kremlin orchestrated efforts to manipulate social media platforms to try to sway the electorate and sow divisions.

The firms said shoring up defenses for their platforms was a ‘national security priority.’

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