The chief executives of tech giants Facebook, Google, and Twitter are expected to testify at a Senate hearing on October 28 to understand the tech companies’ control over hate speech and misinformation on their platforms.
The Senate Commerce Committee voted last week to authorize subpoenas to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Sunda Pichai and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey to force them to testify if they do not agree to do so voluntarily. . Spokespersons for the two companies said on Monday that the CEOs will cooperate.
Twitter said in a tweet on its policy channel: “The hearing must be constructive, focusing on what is most important to the American people: how we can protect the election together.”
It must be constructive and focus on what is most important to the American people: how we can protect elections together
-Twitter Public Policy (@Policy) October 2, 2020
The hearing will take place less than a week before election day. This marks a new bipartisan initiative against big technology companies that are subject to increasing scrutiny on issues such as competition from Washington and from the state attorney general, consumer privacy and hate speech.
Roger Vick, chairman of the Mississippi Republican Committee on Commerce, said that testimony from executives is needed “to reveal the influence of their companies on American speech during a critical period of our democratic process.”
At the same time, Facebook is expanding restrictions on political advertising, including a new ban on news claiming widespread voter fraud. The new ban proposed in the blog post came days after President Donald Trump used a mail voting procedure to improve the prospects of large-scale fraud in a debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden last week.
Under Trump’s leadership, conservative Republicans have constantly criticized Silicon Valley’s social media platforms. They blamed these allegations without evidence that they intended to suppress conservative views.
The Justice Department has asked Congress to revoke long-standing legal protections for online platforms, thereby dropping the legislative mark in Trump’s actions against social media giants. The proposed changes will remove some basic protective measures that usually free companies from legal liability for content posted on the platform.
Trump signed an executive order earlier this year to challenge the litigation protection provided by the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which has always been the basis for unconstrained speech on the Internet.
On the other hand, Democrats’ criticism of social media has focused on hate speech, misinformation, and other content that may incite violence or prevent people from voting. They criticized the CEOs of large technology companies for failing to monitor content, focusing on the role of platforms in hate crimes and the rise of white American nationalism.
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