According to written testimony seen by Reuters, the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Alphabet will tell U.S. lawmakers at a hearing on Wednesday that federal laws protecting Internet companies are essential to free expression on the Internet.

Article 230 is a provision of the 1996 Communications Regulations Act that exempts technology companies from liability for user-generated content and allows them to delete legitimate but offensive posts. Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic and Republican lawmakers who have been concerned about the content restriction decisions of big technology have all made severe criticisms.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will tell the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday that eroding the foundation of Section 230 “may undermine the way we communicate on the Internet, leaving only a few giants and well-funded Technology company.”

Dorsey urged “thinking and restraint when addressing broad regulatory solutions to content restriction issues, and warned that “comprehensive regulation can further consolidate companies with larger market shares. “

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg said: “Section 230 enables the construction of every major Internet service”, but he added, “Congress should update the law to ensure that it operates as expected. We support the relevant The idea of ​​transparency and industry cooperation is discussed in the current bipartisan proposal.”

Zuckerberg also said that without laws, technology companies may even assume basic responsibilities for restraint, such as eliminating hate speech and harassment.

Sundar Pichai of Alphabet’s Google said the company has no political bias in its work and is able to provide information about what it does because of existing legal frameworks such as Article 230.

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Pichai’s written testimony said: “I urge the committee to be very cautious about any changes to Article 230 and to be aware of the consequences that these changes may have on businesses and consumers.”

In addition to discussions about reforming the law, the hearing will raise questions about consumer privacy and media integration.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said this month that he will continue to develop rules to clarify the meaning of Section 230, but he declined to say when it will proceed on Tuesday.

Pine said: “We are not talking about implementing regulations for social media companies.” “We are talking about interpreting exemptions.”

Pai also stated that he did not feel pressure from the White House to take action.

On Tuesday, Senator Maria Cantwell, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, published a report on how large technology platforms have hit the local journalism industry, including newspapers and broadcasters.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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