Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Executives from social media giants Facebook and Twitter agreed it is important for their platforms to notify the public of fake accounts and foreign influence campaigns.
Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey appeared before the Senate intelligence committee Wednesday to testify on alleged Russian interference in U.S. elections, in the third such hearing hosted by the committee.
Sandberg and Dorsey shared prepared opening statements ahead of the meetings.
"The threat we face requires extensive partnership and collaboration with our government partners and industry peers," Dorsey said in his prepared remarks for the House appearance. "We each possess information the other does not have, and the combined information is more powerful in combating these threats."
"We were too slow to spot this and too slow to act," Sandberg said in her prepared remarks. "That's on us."
Dorsey added that Twitter hasn't taken enough action to inform people whether they've been following a fake account or been targeted by foreign influence campaigns, but added "it's something we're going to be diligent to fix."
Sandberg agreed, adding Facebook needs to "tell people that they were taken in, or are innocent victims of a foreign influence campaign."
In order to combat the issue, Dorsey said Twitter has looked in to the possibility of labeling automated profiles, known as bots.
"It's really a question of the implementation, but we are interested in it and we are going to do something along those lines," he said.
He added Twitter discovered it was unprepared to handle issues such as abuse and harassment as well as propaganda and misinformation on the platform.
"We're not proud of how that free and open exchange has been weaponized, and used to distract and divide people and our nation," Dorsey said.
Sandberg said the line between hate speech and misinformation on Facebook is "very, very difficult" and added the company uses third-party fact checkers to verify information. If content is determined to be false, Facebook limits its distribution and provides a warning along with related articles to users who have shared or plan to share it.
"Bad speech can often be countered by good speech," Sandberg said.
The two social media executives also discussed privacy and how they handle users' data.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., asked Sandberg if Facebook should place a value on a users' data to inform them what it's worth.
"We don't think it's a question of 'whether regulation,' we think it's a question of the right regulation that supports users, is transparent and doesn't squash innovation," Sandberg responded.
Warner added he believed Congress would have to take action to resolve the issues facing the social media companies and their users.
"I'm skeptical that, ultimately, you'll be able to truly address this challenge on your own," he said.
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., expressed similar concerns.
"Without question, positive things are happening," Burr said. "But clearly this problem's not going away; I'm not even sure it's trending in the right direction."
Twitter's shares fell 6 percent Thursday as Dorsey testified in the hearing and a separate hearing at the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the afternoon, CNBC reported.
During the second hearing, Dorsey addressed accusations by some Repbulicans that Twitter has "shadow banned" or de-emphasizes certain conservative accounts in search results.
"We believe strongly in being impartial, and we strive to enforce our rules impartially," Dorsey said. "In fact, from a simple business perspective and to serve the public conversation, Twitter is incentivized to keep all voices on the platform."
Twitter said its algorithm uses hundreds of "signals" to decide what posts to show or demote on users' feeds, but Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., said humans are responsible for building the technology.
Dorsey agreed the results were impartial, but said the company requires freedom to test and fix the algorithms and should be judged on its willingness and ability to correct mistakes.