Senators yesterday quizzed social media executives and asked if they were serious about controlling their platforms.
Company executives insisted they remove fake QAnon conspiracies and other bad stuff quickly. But most senators seemed skeptical – and wondered why they couldn’t just prevent the bad stuff from being posted in the first place:
“I appreciate that you’re going to do something. So you got it, but not until 16% of Americans are part of this insidious theory,” Senator Gary Peters opened the meeting.
Excellent question! So Senator Peters from Michigan asked for some numbers:
“Each of you, how many total full-time engineers do you have in your company? How many of these engineers work full-time to ensure the trust, security, or integrity of your platforms? And third, how many engineers work full-time on product development?” asked Peters.
Chris Cox, chief product officer at Meta Platforms, Facebook’s parent company, went first:
“The number of years engineers have been with the company is on the order of 10 in 1000,” Cos replied.
“No, no, I didn’t ask that,” Peters interrupted.
No – he asked for the exact number. And it’s not like the question came out of the blue, he had told all the witnesses that he wanted the numbers.
So he turned to the guy from Twitter:
“We have several thousand engineers at Twitter,” replied Jay Sullivan, Product VP at Twitter.
“So same you don’t have the numbers as we asked, okay,” Peters replied.
Of course it’s not okay, and the senator is getting a little pissed. He asks the YouTube guy the number of engineers monitoring your platform:
“We have thousands of engineers working…” Neal Mohan, YouTube’s chief product officer, began.
“Okay, so you don’t have a specific answer for me either, Ms. Papas?” Peters interrupted.
Finally, Vanessa Pappas, Chief Operating Officer at TikTok.
“I don’t have the engineering numbers, but trust and security are our biggest labor costs on TikTok,” Pappas said.
Nobody did their homework.
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Or could it be that there actually really is no A way to control a social media platform without doing what the old-school media has to do, which is take responsibility for what they send out to the world?
What would actually go with it look at and Listen all that stuff before it is posted.
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