Fb, Twitter, Google in front of the Senate

People Involved

  • Mr. Stretch - facebook


  • Mr. Whitehouse
  • Mr. Graham
  • Mr. Cruz
  • Mr. Franken
  • Ms. Klobuchar


  • Fb general attorney, incredible ethos raising apology
  • twitter didnt sound as good, nor did google sound as good as fb. fb voice itself was strong and bullish.
  • without seeing his face i assumed the general council for fb was younger than he is
  • mr. whitehouse: “i gather that you companies have gone beyond the idea that your companies provide a platform and anything beyond that, which comes across that platform is not your affair?”
    • fb: “senator our commitment to addressing this problem is unwavering. we take this very seriously and are comitted to investing as necesary to prevent this from happening again.”
      • he talks about his commitments.
  • fb, responding to a question, and as a general theme in the first 1 hour 7 minutes and 51 seconds of this hearing, is talking a lot about values. What is values-based rhetoric?
  • one senator wanted to pin the pelt of fb council to the wall, not accepting his talk about commitments
  • fb, twitter, google, all purport that their ads can be self regulated, i.e. not subject to oversight
  • Mr. Cruz narrates about the liberal bias of google, facebook, and twitter. Then asks, “so do you believe your platform is a neutral public forum.” “how do you respond to accusations you’re putting your thumb on the political scale?”
    • fb: “we train our people to protect against biases”
    • tw: ~our goal and one of the fundamental principles of the company is fairness..~ [not sure i got that right]
  • A senator brings up the example of Donald Trump Jr. re-tweeting a proven fake article put out by the Russian Internet Research Institute, even the President
  • A Senator shows an image of Aziz Ansari holding a “vote online” poster. The lawyer from twitter admitted it was voter suppression.
  • A senator asks “Do you know who helped the Internet Research Agency in doing this targeting?”
    • fb: “we’re not able to see behind the accounts, all we are able to see is the activity that is on our platform” “so it could have been a political campaign that provided this information about targeting”
    • fb: “As I said, All we can see is the activity on our platform. All we esentially get is the targeting information, which we’ve provided to the committee.”
    • ^ he doesn’t say “yes its possible.” He is arguing on fact. And re-asserting the fact.
  • Franken “how could you not connect that american political ads paid for in russian rubles were coming from russia?”
    • Franken is entertaining, yet not persuasive - he’s too simple
    • fb: “we should have had a broader lens”
    • Franken: “you have all the knowledge of the world”
    • fb: “Senator we should have been alert to this. In hindsight its one we missed.”
    • Franken (exasperated): “will you pledge not to accept politcal ads with yuan.”
  • fb has 150 people. twitter: “large team, 100s of people. we’re at a different scale than fb and google, obviously” Google has “1000s of pepole working on these issues”
  • mr. whitehouse makes an argument of relevance, citing a VICE news report where an advertiser spent very little money to get tremendous reach on facebook. “does that mean it is not particularly relevant that a small dollar amount was spent on political ads with respect to the potential damage it can have”
    • fb: “we’re trying to find facts. we leave it to your investigation to learn more.” END analysis at 2:19:45