Warner Blasts Google for Allowing More Radicalization and Manipulation Than Facebook

November 16, 2018

Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va.) on Friday criticized tech companies for providing a platform for radicalization and foreign interference.

The social media network Facebook has come under scrutiny recently for how, according to multiple reports, it failed to address Russian interference in the 2016 election. Asked about whether Facebook’s issues overshadowed other tech companies’, Warner said the worst problems stem from Google and its subsidiary YouTube.

"The real disappointing company, as well, has been Google," he said. "Google didn't even send a senior leadership person to our committee."

"As more and more evidence comes out that the real place where fake accounts are manipulating, where a lot of the foreign activity—not just Russian, but Chinese, Iranian and others—have headed is on the YouTube platform, where more radicalization goes on than, frankly, on Facebook," he added.

He gave some credit to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey for taking steps to control fraudulent accounts, but he cautioned against overpraising large tech firms.

"Both political parties kind of glorified them, and they’ve done a lot of good–I don't want to underestimate the good they've done–but there was a dark underbelly being created, as well," he said. "And we've now exposed that dark underbelly. And I think for a long time these companies thought that if they just kept their heads low, we’d go away. This problem is not disappearing; it's only increasing, and frankly, Americans are getting more and more concerned."

According to Warner, Facebook was Russians’ "vehicle of choice" in 2016 when they attempted to spread misinformation during the election.

"Facebook has received a lot of the attention," Warner said. "Facebook was the vehicle of choice for the Russians in 2016 and Zuckerberg and others, when we first started raising these concerns, basically dismissed that there was any there there—and obviously there was a lot of there there, Russians both used paid advertising, but more importantly with creating these fake accounts."