Tempers flared as U.S. lawmakers grilled Facebook, Twitter and Google representatives about Russia's use of their platforms to spread disinformation during the 2016 presidential campaign, as well as the companies' efforts to prevent a repeat.
"You must do better to protect the American people and, frankly, all of your users from this kind of manipulation," Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, a Republican from North Carolina, told attorneys for the tech giants at a hearing on Wednesday.
"I don't think you get it," Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, said. "What we're talking about is a cataclysmic change. … What we're talking about is a major foreign power with the sophistication and ability to involve themselves in a [U.S.] presidential election and sow conflict and discord all over this nation."
Feinstein stressed that social media companies bear ultimate responsibility for the material that gets posted on their sites. "You've created these platforms, and now they are being misused. And you have to be the ones to do something about it -- or we [Congress] will," she said.