Big tech companies are preparing to set aside their rivalries to present a united front in Washington this week as they are forced to answer questions for the first time in public on Russian election interference.
Facebook, Twitter and Google will be grilled by lawmakers on how Russian operatives sought to use their ad services to meddle in US politics as the simmering controversy sets up a showdown for Silicon Valley on Capitol Hill.
With Russian-bought ads now the most pressing issue for tech companies whose power has raised myriad concerns in Washington, executives are working to forge an industry consensus to head off the threat of heavy-handed regulation.
Lobbyists say the controversy is stretching the abilities of Facebook and Twitter, which have not previously faced such serious clashes with US policymakers, while raising questions about whether businesses should be so wedded to open platforms.
Michael Beckerman, president of the Internet Association, a trade group helping to co-ordinate the positions of the three companies, said: “Everybody understands this is an important issue in need of a solution.
正在帮助三家公司协调立场的行业团体——互联网协会(Internet Association)的主席迈克尔•贝克曼(Michael Beckerman)表示：“大家都明白，这是一个重要问题，需要找到一个解决方案。”
“IA and our member companies are engaged with stakeholders to bring transparency to online political ads and ensure there’s no foreign interference in our elections.”
Facebook’s general counsel Colin Stretch will testify about Russian activity at two separate hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday alongside Sean Edgett, Twitter’s general counsel.
Facebook的总法律顾问科林•斯特雷奇(Colin Stretch)将和Twitter的总法律顾问肖恩•埃杰特(Sean Edgett)一起，在周二和周三的两场听证会上就俄罗斯方面的活动作证。
Google is sending Richard Salgado, its director of law enforcement and information security, for the Tuesday hearing with a Senate judiciary subcommittee. The next day Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel, will testify before the intelligence committee, which is conducting one of several probes into Russian election interference.
谷歌将派出其执法和信息安全总监理查德•萨尔加多(Richard Salgado)出席参议院司法小组委员会周二举行的听证会。次日，谷歌的总法律顾问肯特•沃克(Kent Walker)将在情报委员会面前作证，该委员会正对俄罗斯干预美国选举一事展开调查，这是美方正在进行的多起调查之一。
The executives are appearing in a potentially explosive week when reports say the first Russia-related charges could be announced by Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating potential collusion between the Trump team and Moscow.
Several members of Congress are pushing legislation to improve the transparency of digital advertising as they express dismay over tech companies’ seemingly flawed knowledge and control of what is happening on their platforms.