Last month, Google summoned about 200 staff from around the world for an annual policy meeting. One agenda item was different this time: How to deal with the sudden drumbeat of calls in the U.S. to regulate the company for being too big.

The two-day retreat in Monterey, California, where employees from the $682 billion company plied Washington policy experts with questions about the pros and cons of its sizing, took place as Google confronts European antitrust land claims and proposed U.S. legislation that would increase online publishers’ liability for content produced by others.

This week, the Alphabet Inc . unit disclosed new information that could farther roil the regulatory painting: revelations that Russian-linked accounts utilized its ad network to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. The news put Google in the societies of Facebook Inc . and Twitter Inc ., both of which are embroiled in the contention surrounding Russia’s involvement in last year’s U.S. elections. Executives at all three corporations are clambering to respond.

Facebook has hired two crisis PR firms, and it is proposed to bring on as many as 1,000 people to screen ads. Top executives, including Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, are phoning members of Congress directly. The company reported spending more than $3.2 million on lobbying in the first quarter of 2017, a company record. Google expended virtually$ 6 million in the second quarter for its own record. Both corporations, with Twitter, are now working to deal with issues related to the Russian ads.

” There is a lot of pressure to intervene in this case because of the democratic implications ,” said Laura DeNardis, director of the Internet Governance Lab at American University in Washington.” Because of the rising bets for cyberspace, for the economy, for democracy, there is greater attention on the part of all actors .”

It’s a delicate balance for the companies, whose products reached massive scale because of their capacity to transact ad automatically, without much restraint. They must figure out how much responsibility to take and how much change to promise, without succumbing to costly regulation or determining a precedent that might be difficult to follow in other countries.

In the context of political advertise, some lawmakers are already proposing new restrictions.” We must update our laws to ensure that when political ads are sold online Americans know who paid for them ,” Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said Monday.

Two congressional committees and special counsel Robert Mueller are examining whether Russian spies utilized social-media platforms to influence U.S. voters in 2016. Researchers are also scrutinizing possible collusion between Russian interests and associates of President Donald Trump. Facebook has become over more than 3,000 ads purchased by Russian entities to both congressional investigations. Twitter has said it made the members of the commission a roundup of advertisements by RT, a Tv network funded by the Russian government that was formerly known as Russia Today.

Facebook for years has sought exemptions from political-ad disclosure regulations — but the company lately said it’s working on ways to show who pays for ads. It also indicated it might be open to some regulation considering transparency.

For Google, the new fears around political advertising come as it responds to European antitrust accusations and tries to preserve online platforms’ liability protections under a law known as Section 230. A Senate bill is targeted at stopping online sexuality trafficking has drawn opposition from Google, Facebook and other internet corporations because it diminishes those protections. Google executives expected Congress has become still more receptive to its arguments that penalise knowledge of trafficking might stop smaller internet companies from go looking for it at all. They were caught off-guard by negative responses to the company’s lobbying, according to one Washington operative who works for the company.

Meanwhile, a potential showdown on political ad looms on Nov. 1, when executives from Google, Facebook and Twitter have been summoned to Washington to give public evidence before congressional committees.

Facebook’s two top executives — Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg — have joined others in constructing calls to members of Congress and trying to smooth relationships, the company said. It has also hired two crisis communications firms to help it on both Republican and Democratic fronts. And a letter went out to advertisers, saying Facebook staff would manually review ads that target people based on their politics, belief, ethnicity or social issues.

Sandberg included among Facebook officers meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus on Thursday, according to Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat from Washington D.C. Some of the Russian election-related ads that operated on Facebook reportedly targeted the Black Lives Matter movement.

Facebook’s vice president of our policies, Elliot Schrage, started a question-and-answer-style blog called ” Hard Questions” in June. In consultation with Liz Spayd, the former New York Times public editor, Facebook updates the blog when news breakings on the company’s relationship with the Trump campaign and the Russian ads.

On Sunday, when” 60 Minutes” aired an interview with the Trump campaign’s digital director saying he had partisan Facebook employees work as” embeds” in the campaign, the company added an explanation of how its services for Trump were standard for any advertiser during an important event.

The strategy is meant to reassure the public, and lawmakers, that Facebook is operating diligently on solutions and therefore doesn’t need to be regulated more. But some critics say that by volunteering to be responsible, Facebook is opening itself up to more publicity and more blame.

Inside the company, presidents are dismayed by how the public is interpreting its involvement in the Russia investigation, according to person or persons familiar with their thinking. Executives fear that Facebook’s work for the presidential campaigns is being re-framed as partisan, for example, even though it gives the same providing services to any major advertiser.

Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer, protected the company from media critics who say it should have found a technological solution to the problem of fake news. It’s not that simple — and any quick answer could end up being ideologically biased, he said in a series of recent posts on Twitter.

Facebook, Twitter and Google are collaborating on issues related to the Russian political ads. A person very well known international efforts said it was similar to how the three firms would work together on difficult industrywide issues, such as child pornography or content from terrorist groups.

“We are taking a deeper look to investigate attempts to abuse our systems, working with researchers and other companies, and will provide assistance to ongoing inquiries, ” a Google spokeswoman said on Monday.

Twitter executives have been in frequent linked with Congressional committees and researchers to try and answer their questions before Nov. 1, according to person or persons very well known the issues. The company is addressing the issue from multiple angles, the person said, including asking technologists to analyze spam-use on the platform and asking its advertising team to delve into ad buys by RT, the Russian Tv network.

Teaching Twitter’s algorithms to find malicious performers is challenging; Russian actors in particular are moving away from bots and networks to human beings that behave in coordinated routes, the person said. For instance, it can be difficult for Twitter’s algorithms to see discrepancies between a group of paid tweets in Eastern Europe and a group of legitimate tweeters who are all posting at the same hour at a convention. Bloomberg LP is developing a global transgres news network for the Twitter service.

Meanwhile, Google took a more creative approach to discussing its future last month. At the implementation of policies session in Monterey, one talker played the opponent, voicing concerns about the power big corporations can wield over civilization. Another played defense. That was Robert Atkinson, chairman of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. His upcoming volume, Big is Beautiful — co-authored by Michael Lind — argues larger firms create progress and prosperity.

” It was very open-minded to have that kind of debate ,” Atkinson said when reached by phone.” The threats against Google are surely more severe now. Trying to portray yourself just as a good corporation is not adequate enough .”