Ed Lazowska, a leading computer science professor at the University of Washington, wants Facebook and other big tech companies to take responsibility for enabling Russian meddling into the 2016 election.
The longtime fixture of the Seattle tech community expressed his frustration with social media giants in interviews with GeekWire and Bloomberg Technology at the GeekWire Summit this week.
“You can’t wash your hands of this,” he said. “It’s a difficult technical problem because, at the scale they operate at, detecting fake news, detecting ad placements by third-parties you wouldn’t want to be placing ads, is a problem.”
Facebook, in particular, has earned Lazowska’s ire. He said, unlike Microsoft, “Facebook has nothing to sell except what they know about you and ads.”
Facebook, Twitter, and Google are all under federal scrutiny for the role their platforms played in Russian meddling in the election. All three companies have been asked to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Nov. 1. In a recent interview with Axios, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said, “It’s not just that we apologize. We’re angry, we’re upset, but what we really owe the American people is determination,” to address foreign meddling.
“They’ve got to be able to do better than this,” Lazowska told GeekWire this week. “There’s lots of smart people working there so the challenge is, step one, take responsibility and step two, dig in and solve the problems.”