The US Justice Department confirmed that it has expressed “growing concern” that social media companies are “hurting competition” and “intentionally stifling the exchange of ideas on their platforms.”
The comments came after Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, as lawmakers investigate foreign influence campaigns on their platforms. Social media companies are under the spotlight accused of either censoring conservative accounts or for allowing threat actors, usually allegedly working closely with the Russian and Iranian governments, to use disinformation spreading tactics to try to influence the outcome of the election.
“We listened to today’s Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Foreign Influence Operations’ Use of Social Media Platforms closely,” Justice Dept spokesman Devin O’Malley said in statement.
“The Attorney General has convened a meeting with a number of state attorneys general this month to discuss a growing concern that these companies may be hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas on their platforms,” said Justice Department spokesman Devin O’Malley in an email.
It wasn’t clear if the DOJ’s contention is similar to that of the president, who has repeatedly accused social media of censorship of conservative and republican accounts, or if it will be more focused on the so-called infiltration of social media by “Russian bots.” It also wasn’t clear if the DOJ is pushing for regulation or investigating the platforms for alleged anti-trust issues.
Social media companies aren’t covered under US free speech laws like the First Amendment, but have long said they support free speech and expression across their platforms, including for users in parts of the world where freedom of speech is more restrictive.
NEW: AG Sessions “has convened a meeting with a number of state attorneys general this month to discuss a growing concern that these companies may be hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas on their platforms,” DOJ spokesperson says. pic.twitter.com/2TybUMjqxP
— ABC News (@ABC) September 5, 2018
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Author: Tyler Durden