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Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter's Jack Dorsey. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Twitter and Facebook leaders defended their platforms' efforts to stem foreign election interference to lawmakers who said it was time for swifter action to stop online meddling in the democratic process.

The bottom line: Compared to previous hearings with tech executives, this one was less heated — with no major missteps by either Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook Chief Operative Officer Sheryl Sandberg. Dorsey, however, is appearing before a House committee on Wednesday afternoon where questioning will focus on accusations that Twitter reflects a liberal bias.

The big picture: With the midterms approaching, policymakers and Silicon Valley are both trying to avoid a repeat of the 2016 cycle, during which Russian operatives spread content on socially divisive issues ahead of Election Day.

What they're saying: Dorsey and Sandberg fielded questions from lawmakers for nearly three hours before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

  • Dorsey said he was open to labeling bot accounts for users but said it was sometimes hard to detect that activity. Dorsey said it was a question of "implementation" but that the platform is "interested in it and we are going to do something along those lines."
  • Sandberg wouldn't commit to sharing non-public portions of the privacy audits the company produces as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, but said Facebook would work with lawmakers on the issue.
  • Sen. Marco Rubio pushed the executives on how their companies would handle markets — like China — where governments push technology firms to censor speech. Dorsey, after an exchange, agreed that requests form U.S. lawmakers to limit foreign election interference were not morally equivalent to requests from those regimes.
  • The executives said they were working hard to address policymakers' concerns. Sandberg said that Facebook was "focused, as I know you are, on the upcoming U.S. midterms and elections around the world." Dorsey added: “Our interests are aligned with the American people and this committee."

Lawmakers said the time for action is now.

  • “It takes courage to call out a state actor, and your companies have done that, but clearly this problem is not going away," said Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr as he opened a hearing. "I’m not even sure it’s trending in the right direction."
  • "We’ve identified the problem, now it’s time to identify the solution," he said, adding that "whatever the answer is, we’ve got to do this collaboratively and we’ve got to do it now."
  • "The bad news, I’m afraid, is that there are still a lot of work to do," said Sen. Mark Warner, the panel's top Democrat. “I believe Congress is going to have to act."

Go deeper

Scoop: Caitlyn Jenner makes it official for California governor

Caitlyn Jenner. Photo: Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

Former Olympic decathlete and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner has filed her initial paperwork to run for governor of California and will officially announce her bid later today, her campaign tells Axios.

The big picture: Jenner, a longtime Republican, is seeking to replace Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in a recall election, hoping her celebrity status and name recognition can yield an upset in the nation's most populous state.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
33 mins ago - Sports

New laws, new rules bring big changes to college sports

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The college sports landscape could change more in the next six months than it has in the last 50 years, as the NCAA grapples with new competition, new laws and new rules.

How it works... 1. Startup leagues: Investors are flocking to new leagues that aim to compete with the NCAA, evidence of just how much opposition there is to the amateurism model — and how much belief there is in new ones.

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Malaria vaccine from Oxford highly effective in early trials

Family in Brazil under a malaria net. Photo: J R Ripper/Brazil Photos/LightRocket via Getty Images

A malaria vaccine developed by Oxford University was found to have "high-level efficacy" in phase II trials, according to a pre-print study released on Friday.

Why it matters: Malaria kills over 400,000 people a year, more than half of them children under the age of 5. Deaths have fallen in half over the past 20 years thanks to investment in prevention and drugs, but a truly effective malaria vaccine would represent one of the greatest victories in the history of public health.