The Latest: Facebook cites gains against election meddling

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on executives from social media companies and their appearances before Congress (all times local):

10:05 a.m.

Facebook’s No. 2 executive has told a Senate committee that Facebook has made progress in addressing the issue of meddling by foreign interests in U.S. elections. But Sheryl Sandberg also says security efforts to combat such threats are never finished.

She tells the Senate intelligence committee that Facebook is “more determined” than adversaries seeking to interfere in American democracy. Sandberg says Facebook is working with outside experts, law enforcement and government, and she acknowledges that Facebook doesn’t always have the expertise to determine the source of such threats.

Sandberg says “we are more determined than our opponents and we will keep fighting.” She calls the fight an “arms race,” as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has in the past.


9:58 a.m.

The Senate intelligence committee is holding a hearing on what it calls social media “influence operations” as the November elections near.

And while executives from Facebook and Twitter are testifying, there’s an empty chair in place for Google’s parent Alphabet, which has refused to send its top executive.

And committee leaders aren’t happy about that.

The committee chairman — Sen. Richard Burr — is praising the companies for what they’ve done so far. But the North Carolina Republican says threats from countries beyond Russia aren’t going away.

He notes that an outside security company had a large role in identifying the most recent threat the companies have disclosed. This was an attempt by Iran to meddle with politics using social media.


12:15 a.m.

Representatives from two leading social media companies are defending their efforts to crack down on foreign attempts at online meddling during this U.S. election year.

Twitter’s CEO and Facebook’s No. 2 executive are appearing before the Senate’s intelligence committee to discuss foreign interference.

Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg says in prepared remarks that Facebook is addressing the problem but remains slow in spotting it. Sandberg says Facebook’s overall understanding of Russian activity in 2016 is limited because it doesn’t have access to the U.S. government’s information or investigative tools.

In a separate hearing before a House committee, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is expected to hear from Republicans who claim Twitter shows evidence of bias against conservatives. Dorsey says in his prepared remarks that Twitter doesn’t use political ideology to make decisions.

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