Expert takaways from social media congressional hearings
While Facebook and Twitter executives remain under pressure from lawmakers about concerns over misinformation on social media platforms, Virginia Tech expert Mike Horning says Congress showed greater willingness to work together to address the problem of foreign influence in our democratic processes, following tech hearings on Capitol Hill this week.
“Twitter’s Jack Dorsey provided useful concrete ways that the federal government and social media companies could work together including more collaboration with law enforcement, a single point of contact aid in collaborating with various law enforcement agencies, and more frequent collaboration with law enforcement. These were positive steps towards addressing the issue.”
“Another important aspect of the hearings dealt with ways that social media could be more active in media literacy campaigns to help increase public awareness when they are exposed to fake news or are sharing it themselves. While Facebook seems to be making better efforts here, Twitter still seems to have a long way to go.”
“Senate committee members were understandably critical of Google for its failure to show up and the optics of that will not fare well for Google. At the same time, recent coverage of Google has been critical of their handling of fake advertising on their platform and they were likely trying to avoid an uncomfortable conversation.”
Mike Horning is an assistant professor of multimedia journalism in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences’ Department of Communication at Virginia Tech. His expertise includes the social and psychological effects of communications technologies. Horning and his colleagues recently conducted a study set to be published that asked Americans how they felt about government regulation of social media. More here.