Facebook, Twitter, Google challenge technology’s dark side

Facebook desires to bring the world closer together. Twitter pledges to safeguard freedom of expression. And as Google tries to make information universally accessible, the business advises its workers not to be evil.Now, these companies are dealing with a wake-up call after the U.S. governmental election highlighted how social networks, advertisements and search results page can distort facts, promote phony news or strengthen biases.U.S.

legislators are putting more pressure on the world’s largest tech firms, drafting legislation that would need them– like TELEVISION stations– to reveal more details about political ads they run online, including who acquired the advertisements and the targeted audience.Accused of weakening

the democratic procedure, the tech firms are acknowledging they might have done more to prevent foreign powers and users from buying politically divisive ads and spreading misinformation. Skepticism of their platforms is growing. “It’s not just social networks, but the entire internet platform business has moved in the last 6 months from great till proven otherwise to bad until tested otherwise. It’s spectacular,” said Steven Weber, a professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Info and Department of Political Science.To some extent, the damage is done: Users are questioning whether they can rely on the information on these websites. Legislators are compelling Bay Area innovation business to testify before Congress– and after that in many cases, slamming them for not taking Russia’s possible disturbance in the United States presidential election more seriously.Get tech news in your inbox weekday early mornings.