Social media giants face Senate grilling, will investors care?

Technology company executives will be questioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday about their responses to how foreign governments use social media to spread political propaganda.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, and Jack Dorsey, Twitter's chief executive officer, will answer questions from the committee. It is expected that they will be grilled on how they are preparing for the upcoming midterm elections after Russian meddlers used social media platforms to try and sway American votes in the 2016 election.

In addition to the election controversy, the social media giants have been accused of a left-leaning bias. Meanwhile, Facebook has dealt its own separate issue: the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

Looking at the share price of the two companies, it is apparent that Twitter has been unscathed. In fact, shares have soared this year. The company’s stock is up about 44 percent year-to-date.

Facebook, dealing with the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, disappointing second-quarter earnings report and a forecast for a decline in users has resulted in shares falling about 3 percent so far this year.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
FB META PLATFORMS, INC. 338.03 +4.91 +1.47%
TWTR TWITTER, INC. 45.78 -1.29 -2.74%

Ahead of the testimony, Dorsey released the following statement: “Let me be clear about one important and foundational fact: Twitter does not use political ideology to make any decisions, whether related to ranking content on our service or how we enforce our rules. We believe strongly in being impartial, and we strive to enforce our rules impartially. We do not shadowban anyone based on political ideology. In fact, from a simple business perspective and to serve the public conversation, Twitter is incentivized to keep all voices on the platform.”

In an op-ed published Tuesday by The Washington Post, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that following the 2016 election interference that Facebook is “making it much harder for anyone to interfere in elections.”

Alphabet CEO Larry Page declined to attend. "Our SVP of Global Affairs and Chief Legal Officer, who reports directly to our CEO and is responsible for our work in this area, will be in Washington, D.C. on September 5, where he will deliver written testimony, brief Members of Congress on our work, and answer any questions they have,” a Google spokesperson told TechCrunch.