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Saturday August 15th, 2020 3:12PM

The Latest: Zuckerberg questioned election interference

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on testimony in Congress by the CEOs of Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is again being put on the defensive in a congressional hearing over the social network’s role as a conduit for Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

And Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, has brought the issue current with concerns that right-wing groups are using Facebook to infiltrate the Black Lives Matter movement and to spread anti-Semitic propaganda.

Zuckerberg says Facebook uses sophisticated technology to intercept hate speech, often before it’s seen on the platform. “It hurts our business,” he said.

Zuckerberg's comments came at hearing that also featured Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. The CEOs are answering for their companies’ practices as a House panel caps its yearlong investigation of market dominance in the industry.

___

2:45 p.m.

Facebook internal company documents are being deployed against CEO Mark Zuckerberg by lawmakers asserting that the company has gobbled up rivals to squelch competition.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the Democrat who heads the House Judiciary Committee, told Zuckerberg at a hearing Wednesday that documents obtained from the company “tell a very disturbing story” of Facebook’s acquisition of the Instagram messaging service.

He said the documents show Zuckerberg called Instagram a threat that could “meaningfully hurt” Facebook.

Zuckerberg responded that Facebook viewed Instagram as both a competitor and a “complement” to Facebook’s services, but also acknowledged that it competed with Facebook on photo-sharing. Some critics of Facebook have called for the company to divest Instagram and its WhatsAPP messaging service.

The questioning came at a congressional hearing that also featured Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

___

2:30 p.m.

The chairman of a Congressional committee investigating the power of major technology companies accused Google of leveraging its dominant search engine to steal ideas and information from other websites and manipulating its results to drive people to its own digital services to boost its profits.

Rep. David Cicilline peppered Google CEO Sundar Pichai with the allegations of abusive behavior while grilling him Wednesday during a hearing that is also putting Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on virtual hot seats while answering questions posed through a video stream.

Pichai repeatedly deflected Cicilline’s attacks by asserting that Google tries to provide the most helpful and relevant information to the hundreds of millions of people who use its search engine each day. He said this is part of its effort to keep them coming back instead of defecting to a rival service, such as Microsoft’s Bing.

Pichai struggled to answer one question about whether Google threatened to dump Yelp from its search engine database after the restaurant review site told Google to stop scraping its site for content. Yelp raised that issue about a decade ago before before Pichai became CEO in 2015.

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