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posted by martyb on Wednesday December 06, @05:13PM   Printer-friendly
from the thorny-questions dept.

The bloom is off the rose:

It was about an hour and a half into a hearing with the Senate Intelligence Committee when Sen. Dianne Feinstein laid into Facebook, Google and Twitter.

"I don't think you get it," she began. "You bear this responsibility. 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 will."

The tech giants were being grilled by Congress over Russian trolls abusing their services to meddle in last year's US election, and the California Democratic lawmaker had had it.

It was just one of very public tongue-lashings the Silicon Valley companies received over the course of three marathon congressional panels last month, held over a two-day span. The hearings were anticlimactic, in part because the three companies only sent their general counsels instead of their famous CEOs -- a point several lawmakers bemoaned during the public questioning.

Is it Google, Twitter, and Facebook who don't get it, or Senators like Dianne Feinstein who don't get it?


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bob_super on Wednesday December 06, @05:31PM (46 children)

    by bob_super (1357) on Wednesday December 06, @05:31PM (#606223)

    Neither.
    It's political posturing, and in the case of Dems, inability to cope with a loss that really hurts.

    I always say that you can only blame the ref if you didn't manage to play well enough to get a clear win.

    Of course, the fact that US voters could be influenced by pretty dumb social media campaigns is a problem someone will have to deal with (cutting education funding should help, for sure), but if the influence had gone to other way, the R guys would be blaming G, FB and T for being a hive of evil libruls, instead of the Russians.

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  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @05:51PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @05:51PM (#606233)

    Thank you for mansplaining that to us Boris.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday December 06, @06:20PM (25 children)

    by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday December 06, @06:20PM (#606251) Journal
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by BK on Wednesday December 06, @06:50PM (20 children)

      by BK (4868) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 06, @06:50PM (#606274)

      It’s illegal for foreign nationals or governments to...

      Fine. So the foreign government has committed a crime. Let's lock them up? I suppose we could engage in a 'police action' in Russia. That seems to have worked well for the last few adventurous folks to try it.

      It now seems clear they’ve been using Facebook to do just that.

      Facebook isn't the police. If there was a law requiring that a person show a passport indicating their nationality before they could buy an advertisement, it would be considered a clear violation of the right to free speech. FEC regulation of elections runs up against the same problems... the things they want to restrict, or the methods they want to use to do it, are considered protected by the First Amendment. So unless you want some kind of (really great fire)wall at the border...

      --
      4 out of 5 dentists choose Brand X. The other is just a denier.
      • (Score: 5, Informative) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday December 06, @07:24PM (3 children)

        by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday December 06, @07:24PM (#606308) Journal

        So the foreign government has committed a crime. Let's lock them up?

        Knowingly helping someone commit a crime is also a crime...

        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by darnkitten on Wednesday December 06, @08:35PM

          by darnkitten (1912) on Wednesday December 06, @08:35PM (#606375)

          Hey, Putin just announced he's running for re-election.

          Turnabout's fair play, eh?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @12:39AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @12:39AM (#606495)

          Isn't there a word for people who aid a foreign government against the interests of their own nation?

          • (Score: 3, Funny) by redneckmother on Thursday December 07, @03:39PM

            by redneckmother (3597) on Thursday December 07, @03:39PM (#606825)

            Isn't there a word for people who aid a foreign government against the interests of their own nation?

            Dunno, but the acronym is currently POTUS.

            --
            Pitchforks? Check. Torches? Check. Lampposts? Check. Rope? Oh crap, Colorado smoked all the Hemp!
      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @07:24PM (10 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @07:24PM (#606309)

        FB knew or should have know an illegal act is occurring and report it, period. Now will they catch everything no. But that was s where the law will go.

        If you BYE a TV off the back of truck with other TVs. That is fishy so a simlpe report is responsible for you to do. But then you have received stolen property so enjoy jail.

        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by khallow on Wednesday December 06, @08:58PM (2 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 06, @08:58PM (#606393) Journal

          FB knew or should have know an illegal act is occurring and report it, period.

          And how should they know that?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @09:45PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @09:45PM (#606427)

            Insert an 'Once' at the beginning of the sentence and it makes more sense... ONCE fb knew they should have reported it...

            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday December 07, @12:00AM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 07, @12:00AM (#606481) Journal
              And when you do that, you still have the problem that Facebook has in the past reported [engadget.com] such things.

              At the time [a little before Trump's inauguration], Zuckerberg admitted the social network knew about problems, but told Obama that it wasn't widespread and that there wasn't a lot Facebook could do in any case. In June 2016, Facebook's security team found suspicious accounts set up by the Kremlin-backed APT28 hacking team, also known as Guccifer 2.0, the Post says.

              However, it found no solid proof of Russian disinformation and turned over everything it found to the US government. Reportedly, neither US law enforcement nor national security personnel met with Facebook to share or discuss the information.

              and

              While it appears that Facebook turned over any evidence to US law enforcement as soon as it found it, ads and fake news are filtered mostly by algorithms. Facebook's human content gatekeepers, often contractors, are mostly on the watch for violent or sexually explicit materials, not foreign propaganda.

              So there seems to be no grounds for the concern that Facebook failed to report such crime.

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by fustakrakich on Wednesday December 06, @11:12PM (6 children)

          by fustakrakich (6150) on Wednesday December 06, @11:12PM (#606467) Journal

          FB knew or should have know an illegal act is occurring and report it

          The law is illegal. There is nothing in the 1st Amendment that makes exceptions for foreign nationals. The statue simply states "no law". If you want to make exceptions you have to amend the constitution, and that procedure is explicitly spelled out also.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday December 07, @01:10AM (1 child)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 07, @01:10AM (#606505) Journal
            Agree. This current witch hunt is exactly why the First Amendment was created. No good will come of this hearing. Any attempt to fix this will result in social media companies policing their forums in ways that allow for suppression of legitimate speech.
            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday December 07, @01:11AM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 07, @01:11AM (#606506) Journal
              And by "legitimate", I mean speech of the sort which purportedly is not subject to laws about foreign nationals and governments.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @11:23AM (3 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @11:23AM (#606763)

            The law is illegal.

            The voting voters' representatives passed the law, so it must be okay. The voting voter have all the power and can change the law any time they want to, but they haven't, so they must want the law in place!

      • (Score: 0, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @08:39PM (4 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @08:39PM (#606376)

        If there was a law requiring that a person show a passport indicating their nationality before they could buy an advertisement, it would be considered a clear violation of the right to free speech.

        It's only a violation to require a person to show a passport or other ID when they actually cast their vote... Apparently... That's how the left thinks - or doesn't - these days.

        • (Score: 5, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @09:22PM (3 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @09:22PM (#606417)

          Because all the voter ID propositions have been carefully crafted to prevent minority voters from being able to participate. Maybe read up on some of the reasons for opposition to those plans before you ascribe some liberal conspiracy?

          • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by XivLacuna on Wednesday December 06, @11:35PM (2 children)

            by XivLacuna (6346) on Wednesday December 06, @11:35PM (#606471) Homepage

            Hahaha liberals think minorities are too stupid and/or incompetent to get voter ID. I'm at least willing to give minorities the chance to prove this horrible generalization wrong. You think of them as children incapable of getting a ride to the DMV. We have liberal social workers right now who spend time getting their clients to the DMV for a state photo ID and who register people to vote. So even if they are as incompetent as you think they are, some white savior will get them some photo ID that they need to do other stereotypical lower class thing like buy tobacco products or alcohol.

            Democrats just don't want to give up illegal invader votes along with the undead vote that always pops out of the grave. It is the only way they can win.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @12:10AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @12:10AM (#606485)

              It isn't a generalization fuck head, guess you didn't want to do any research on the topic and instead want to stick to your hate filled bubble where liberals are trying to destroy the country.

              For the lazy [aclu.org]

            • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @12:26AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @12:26AM (#606489)

              Your imagination is much more limited than that of the Repug operatives.

              The same day that Alabama started their voter registration shenanigans, they also closed all the DMV offices in "The Black Belt" with the exception of 1 day a month.

              Investigative reporter Greg Palast covers this in great detail his movie|book "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy"
              The old movie - 110 minutes [youtube.com]
              I was just listening to him on Pacifica Radio KPFK's pledge drive.
              He was offering his stuff (the unreleased, updated version) as premiums.
              1hr, 13MB MP3 [kpfk.org]

              Greg covers a lot of this stuff in that hour of audio (while pitching for listener-supported radio).

              ...and before that, his project was "Billionaires and Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps".

              You need to expand your sources of "information".
              As a 1st step, I'd recommend switching off Lamestream Media (anything with a corporate "sponsor").

              -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Bot on Wednesday December 06, @06:52PM

      by Bot (3902) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 06, @06:52PM (#606275)

      Clinton foundation received money by the Italian government, dare I say a symbolic little sum, $250k. Of course it did not fund the actual campaign, but if it is illegal to INFLUENCE an election, any effort by a foundation named Clinton under the election influences the campaign. Anyway Trump did finance the foundation too.

    • (Score: 2, Disagree) by frojack on Wednesday December 06, @09:19PM (2 children)

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 06, @09:19PM (#606413) Journal

      Is it in fact Illegal?
      Your linked article does not say that. You made that part up.

      Foreign ads used to appear in newspapers all the time.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 5, Touché) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday December 06, @09:21PM

        by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday December 06, @09:21PM (#606416) Journal

        The text in the link is a direct quote from the article.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Phoenix666 on Thursday December 07, @01:13AM

        by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 07, @01:13AM (#606509) Journal

        Israel tries to influence the US all the time through its lobbying arm, AIPAC. So, if Facebook should be arrested because Russia used its platform to influence our government, then surely AIPAC must also be arrested for directly, knowingly, and willingly doing the same, right?

        --
        Washington DC delenda est.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @06:22PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @06:22PM (#606252)

    the slimiest trash in the R party.

    She was brought in after the murder of the mayor of San Francisco, George Moscone, as a 'moderate' Democrat, to help stem the actual progressivism he had posed. She is an ultra-fascist in liberal clothing, and you have only look at her voting record to understand that. The sad part is, many Democrats still use her, Boxer, or a variety of other horrible individuals as rallying points, rather than realizing the sickness permeating their own party, while blindly toeing the party line and claiming how much more horrible the R candidates are while not digging into the legislative misdeeds being pushed by members of their own party.

    America is sick these days, but there are some special politicians who look even sicker. Feinstein is high on that list.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @06:36PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @06:36PM (#606266)

      When the media is so effectively controlled it is impossible to educate the necessary number of people. Any traction that is gained gets a pushback by the propaganda outlets.

      Don't forget the private corps that will gladly put people in body bags if they become too inconvenient. Criminal society is the BEST! /puke

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @12:41AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @12:41AM (#606496)

      Senator Barbara Boxer quit.
      The new chick is Kamala Harris (another Neoliberal pseudo-Progressive).
      Used to be California Attorney General.
      I often didn't like how she did that job.
      In particular, she wouldn't appoint special prosecutors to go after rogue cops.

      ...and, yeah. Feinstein is a turd sandwich.

      -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

    • (Score: 1) by redneckmother on Thursday December 07, @03:50PM

      by redneckmother (3597) on Thursday December 07, @03:50PM (#606833)

      Bingo!

      "Party Politics" are the problem. The two largest parties are not controlled by voters, but by large corporations, banks, the 1%... MONEY in general.

      AT&T once had a commercial with the tag line: "The System is the Solution". For them and the US political system (then and now), "The System is the Problem."

      --
      Pitchforks? Check. Torches? Check. Lampposts? Check. Rope? Oh crap, Colorado smoked all the Hemp!
  • (Score: 2) by donkeyhotay on Wednesday December 06, @07:58PM (10 children)

    by donkeyhotay (2540) on Wednesday December 06, @07:58PM (#606350)

    I agree: it's mostly just politics. I heard Scott Adams referring to it as "Trump Derangement Syndrome" and he gave an excellent description of why it exists. It's like so many people are filled with incredible shock and grief and this continues, even a year after the election, because they cannot get any closure.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bob_super on Wednesday December 06, @08:10PM (9 children)

      by bob_super (1357) on Wednesday December 06, @08:10PM (#606354)

      It is hard to get closure when the scandals (mostly petty, but some real) are followed by weakening of protections (for land or people), then by pissing off allies, then ... then repeat ad nauseam.
      It's easier to get closure when the consequences turn out to be much milder than you feared, when you can draw a line and stop being reminded, or when you acquire clear hope for things to improve.

      Therefore ... not happening any time soon.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @08:44PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, @08:44PM (#606381)

        I think I just spotted a victim of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

        • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Wednesday December 06, @08:49PM (1 child)

          by bob_super (1357) on Wednesday December 06, @08:49PM (#606384)

          I only have Industrial Disease, like Jesus.

        • (Score: 4, Informative) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday December 06, @09:25PM

          by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday December 06, @09:25PM (#606419) Journal

          I think I just spotted a victim of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

          If you're able to ignore two guilty pleas and two indictments then you're the deranged one.

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by Gaaark on Thursday December 07, @04:19AM (4 children)

        by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 07, @04:19AM (#606636) Homepage Journal

        It's also hard to get closure when the person who stole the leadership of her party from the better person (Bernie) loses and throws a tantrum by running off to drink wine and take long walks in the woods (while also secretly writing a book attempting to rewrite history and taking full responsibility by blaming everyone but herself and her cronies (esp. Wasserman-Schultz, and Bill)) leaving the guy she stole the leadership from to face the media and answer the questions as to why they lost.

        She ran off, tantrumed, wrote lies, and is now trying to "set the record straight".

        She is a LOSER.

        Get. Over. It!

        DISCLAIMER: Trump is also a loser.

        --
        --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @01:33PM (3 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @01:33PM (#606779)

          You are correct that they are both losers. To me it is a sad state of the country when those two were the "shining" examples of who should lead the country. Personally, I felt that the country would have been better off voting for someone's pet than either of the main party candidates for President of the United States. Sadly, I voted for a third party candidate as more of a protest vote because I could not hold my nose and vote for either Trump or Clinton.

          • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Thursday December 07, @03:43PM (2 children)

            by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 07, @03:43PM (#606828) Homepage Journal

            I've been voting Green the last few years because both the Liberals and the Conservatives (Canadian) are too entrenched and have too many connections that they have to pay by giving tax breaks etc to.

            The greens seem to be slowly climbing in the political ranks here: the NDP are the 'official' third party here, but they seem to be kind of stupid.... Bob Rae got in as the NDP leader/Premier of Ontario (on voting day, my wife and i were sick as DOGS and couldn't leave the bed to go vote: now we always vote on the early polling days) and spent money like fecking crazy, then had to cut like crazy to make up for it and bit off the hand that fed him..........crazy mess).

            I'd like to see a revolving door of, maybe Green/NDP for a while, maybe.

            I guess my peeve is that 'big business' has just tooooooo much power/money nowadays, and REALLY needs to be hacked away at and their power lessened. THAT may take a revolution, though.

            --
            --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---
            • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Thursday December 07, @04:47PM (1 child)

              by hendrikboom (1125) on Thursday December 07, @04:47PM (#606859) Homepage

              At the start of this millennium I realized that the important political battle this century would be whether governments were going to rein in the power of the corporations, especially multinational ones, or whether the corporations were going to make governments toe the line instead.

              • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Thursday December 07, @06:55PM

                by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 07, @06:55PM (#606939) Homepage Journal

                Yeah, looks like we're losing... :(

                --
                --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday December 06, @08:28PM (3 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 06, @08:28PM (#606370) Journal

    the R guys would be blaming G, FB and T for being a hive of evil libruls

    But, they ARE evil libruls. Sillycone Valley is well known for pushing liberal agendas. Unfortunately, we seem to be trapped between the evil libruls and the evil exploiters, with little if any middle ground.

    --
    #Hillarygropedme
    • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Wednesday December 06, @11:18PM (2 children)

      by fustakrakich (6150) on Wednesday December 06, @11:18PM (#606468) Journal

      Just so you know, Silicon Valley's "agenda" is not liberal by any acceptable definition of the word. But if you let mass media drive the narrative, then all bets are off.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @11:21AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, @11:21AM (#606762)

        Aspiring hackers want to know: what is Silicon Valley's "agenda"? And what are the acceptable definitions of liberal?