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Facebook to face Senate Intel questions following revelation of new disinformation campaign

Facebook to face Senate Intel questions following revelation of new disinformation campaign
© Greg Nash

The Senate Intelligence Committee announced Wednesday it will question executives from Facebook and other social media companies on Sept. 5 following Facebook's revelation of a new disinformation campaign aimed at the midterm elections.

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerA bold fix for US international taxation of corporations Democrats offer competing tax ideas on Biden infrastructure Five ways an obscure Senate ruling could change Washington MORE (D-Va.) said the hearing, the date for which was not previously known, would feature testimony from executives at Facebook, Twitter and Google.

The Hill previously reported that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg had confirmed they would attend the next hearing.

Google, which has been invited, did not immediately confirm if it had accepted the invitation.

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The hearing will serve as a follow-up to one convened last November in which senators questioned social media executives over how their platforms were used by Russian trolls to influence the 2016 presidential election.

The hearing next month is likely to focus partly on the threat of ongoing influence operations. On Tuesday, Facebook disclosed that it had shut down several accounts and pages linked to a coordinated influence campaign aimed at amplifying divisive issues ahead of the November elections. While the social media company has not attributed the operation to an individual or nation-state, some lawmakers suspect Russia in the effort. 

“I know [social media companies] can do better to protect our democracy,” Warner said Wednesday at a hearing featuring testimony from independent experts on foreign influence operations. “They have the creativity, expertise, resources, and technological capability to get ahead of these malicious actors.”

“That is why we will be hosting senior executives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google for a hearing on Sept. 5,” Warner said. “To hear the plans they have in place, to press them to do more, and to work together to address this challenge.”   

Ali Breland contributed.