Sorry politicians, but it’s not illegal for Russians to buy social media ads.
At first, the Internet giants downplayed the role they played in Russia’s election meddling. As well they should have. They did nothing wrong.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg famously said it was “crazy” to think fake news influenced the campaign. Twitter said it can’t be the arbiter of truth. And Google only recently revealed Russian agents bought ads to spread disinformation after saying there was no evidence of the sort.
But by Tuesday, when faced with a sobering appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the three Silicon Valley heavyweights took turns underscoring the gravity of the attacks on American democracy and pledged to work harder to prevent it from happening again.
“We take what happened on Facebook very seriously,” said Facebook’s lead attorney, Colin Stretch. “The foreign interference we saw was reprehensible.”
Whether the gestures appeared credible or not will go a long way in determining how much an increasingly impatient Congress will regulate a technology industry that has amassed considerable power.
Welcome to the Police State’s latest maneuver to control the Internet.