Google, Facebook and Twitter to testify at election security hearing

Google, Facebook and Twitter to testify at election security hearing
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Google, Facebook and Twitter will send representatives to testify at an upcoming hearing on election security, the House Oversight and Reform Committee announced Monday.

The officials will likely field questions about their companies' efforts to stave off disinformation and manipulation ahead of the 2020 presidential election after facing enormous scrutiny for allowing bad actors to take advantage of their platforms in 2016. 

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The hearing, held by the Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on National Security, will examine the "security of the nation’s election systems, including the government’s response to ongoing attempts by malicious actors to interfere in our elections, influence public opinion, and undermine U.S. electoral processes," according to the committee.

"The hearing will also examine the important role of state and local governments, as well as private sector partners, to protect U.S. election security systems, infrastructure, and technology platforms," the hearing announcement reads.

The witnesses will include Richard Salgado, Google's director of law enforcement and information security; Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy; and Kevin Kane, the public policy manager at Twitter. 

The tech representatives will testify alongside Christopher Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Federal Election Commission Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, Election Assistance Commission Chairwoman Christy McCormick and others. 

Reports about attempts by a Russian troll farm and other malicious actors to sow discord using social media over the past few years have ushered in a new era of scrutiny for tech giants, with lawmakers and experts around the world paying more attention to how platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google-owned YouTube and more seek to prevent the spread of misinformation and manipulative activity.

All of the platforms have invested significantly in election security measures over the past few years, but each of them have said that foreign actors continue to try to manipulate their platforms to influence events such as elections.