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Twitter, Facebook executives say they've made headway in combating fake user accounts

(ABC News) - Top executives from Twitter and Facebook vowed to Congress on Wednesday to continue their internal campaigns to rid their powerhouse social media platforms of inauthentic accounts used to spread misinformation.

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg told the Senate Intelligence Committee that Facebook has shut down 1.27 billion from October 2017 to March 2018.

“We are now blocking millions of attempts to register false accounts each and every day,” Sandberg said in her testimony. “As these past few weeks and months have shown, this work is starting to pay off.”

While Facebook and Twitter executives were in the firing line in Washington D.C., Google frustrated lawmakers by declining an invitation to send a representative.

“I’d say...I’m deeply disappointed that Google, one of the most influential digital platforms in the world chose not to send its own top corporate leadership,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-V.A., said in his opening remarks Wednesday morning.

 

 

During testimony from Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey at a separate hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, a protester interrupted Dorsey, yelling, “Can President Donald Trump help us? Please help us Mr. President before it is too late because Jack Dorsey is trying to influence the election!”

Before the protester was escorted from the room, Rep. Billy Long, (R-MO.), a former auctioneer, utilized his speedy vocals to silence to her.

“I yield back,” Long said as laughter and cheers followed.

 

 

The protester's outcry follows accusations that Twitter shadow banned conservative accounts on its platform by limiting their appearances on its automated search engine suggestions.

“We’ve decided to focus a lot more on the behavioral patterns that we’re seeing across the network,” Dorsey told lawmakers.

Earlier this year, Twitter announced that it was introducing "new behavior-based signals into how Tweets are organized and presented in areas like conversations and search" to improve every user's Twitter experience.

This tactic allows Twitter to concentrate on user behavior rather than content, Dorsey said.

Dorsey told the committee that his company is building machine and deep learning technology to combat the behavioral patterns of their users.

"We've gotten a lot more leverage out of that in terms of scalability than working on systems to identify whether it's a fake profile or not," Dorsey said.


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