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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey appearing at Thursday's virtual congressional hearing, as seen on a computer screen. Photo by Bloomberg.

The Briefing: Tech Executives Turn Feisty

Photo: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey appearing at Thursday's virtual congressional hearing, as seen on a computer screen. Photo by Bloomberg.

Tech executives appear to be tiring of being treated as political punching bags and are pushing back, at least a little. Leading that charge was Amazon retail chief Dave Clark, who in a series of tweets yesterday attacked Sen. Bernie Sanders for Vermont’s lower-than-Amazon’s minimum wage. “The [senator] should save his finger wagging lecture until after he actually delivers in his own backyard,” Clark tweeted. Meanwhile, Amazon’s PR department posted its own series of tweets pushing back at a Wisconsin congressman over his criticism of Amazon working conditions.

That preceded today’s marathon congressional grilling of the CEOs of Facebook, Alphabet and Twitter over social media’s role in spreading misinformation. Keen-eyed observers such as my colleague Alex Heath noticed that some of the CEOs, particularly Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, were a little more feisty in their responses than in past hearings. Dorsey pushed back against one lawmaker about Twitter’s work with law enforcement to spot illegal content. At other times he answered tersely to loaded questions, and even tweeted during the hearing, including one tweet that implicitly mocked the yes-or-no responses members of Congress demanded of the CEOs.

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