Lawmakers slammed him and other tech executives for failing to show up.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Thursday he’s “absolutely” willing to come talk to the U.S. Congress as lawmakers continue to probe Russia’s efforts to spread disinformation on social media during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Thing is, lawmakers previously and repeatedly called on Dorsey and other tech executives to make the trip to Capitol Hill — and they’ve apparently declined.
That includes a trio of Russia-focused hearings held in October. Lawmakers on one of the three congressional committees actually invited Dorsey to testify, according to two congressional sources familiar with the investigation, but he declined to appear.
Instead, it was Twitter’s acting general counsel, Sean Edgett, who answered questions from Congress, alongside the top lawyers from Facebook and Google.
Dorsey addressed the issue Thursday at a conference hosted by the New York Times. Specifically, he was asked if he was invited to testify — and if he wanted to attend.
“Absolutely,” he began, “I would be happy to stand up and represent our company at any point. We want to make sure we are sending our experts … If I was called, specifically, I would go. And I would get prepared and make sure I understand every single aspect of what happens and what we’re doing about it, more importantly.”
The absence of Dorsey — and his counterparts at Facebook and Google — have drawn weeks of widespread condemnation from lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Democratic Sen. Chris Coons, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, chided all three tech giants during his panel’s October hearing for failing to send their leaders. A day later, Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine, sounded a similar note during a session before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“I’m disappointed that you’re here, and not your CEOs,” he said. “It’s fine to send general counsel, but I think if you could take a message back from this committee, if we go through this exercise again, we would appreciate seeing the top people who are actually making the decisions.”
Days later, the Senate’s senior-most Republican — GOP Leader Mitch McConnell — added his voice, expressing a frustration that leaders like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg haven’t briefed lawmakers in some way.
Asked about the absence of executives during lawmakers’ hearings, he said it was “not good” — then argued that the tech industry “ought to be more interested in cooperating when you have a clear law enforcement issue, more interested in cooperating with law enforcement than they have been.”
A spokeswoman for Twitter did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
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Author: Tony Romm
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