The algorithms that helped the companies make their fortunes are of growing interest to investigators probing interference in the 2016 election
By Nancy Scola and Josh Meyer | POLITICO
The investigations into Russia’s role in the 2016 election are threatening to pry the lid off tech companies’ most prized possessions: the secret inner workings of their online platforms.
As the probes unfold into social media’s role in spreading misinformation, U.S. lawmakers are beginning to show an interest in the mechanics of everything from how Facebook weights news items to how Google ranks search results. The questions, which echo European regulators’ interventionist approach to technology, are a stark change for Silicon Valley companies accustomed to deference from U.S. officials on how they run their operations.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, warned Sept. 24 about “the use of Facebook’s algorithms and the way it tends to potentially reinforce people’s informational bias.” He added, “This is a far broader issue than Russia, but one that we really need to know more about.”