Facebook, Twitter, Google CEOs to affirm prior to Congress: How to view Wednesday

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They’re back. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Google CEO Sundar Pichai are set up to appear prior to federal legislators on Wednesday for a hearing into the security their business get under an almost 25-year-old law.

The Senate hearing, which will happen practically since of the coronavirus pandemic, issues possible modifications to Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, a law numerous professionals think about fundamental to securing totally free expression on the web. 

Section 230 avoids web service providers, such as Verizon and Comcast, and social networks platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter (which weren’t established till the 2000s), from claims over posts made by individuals on their services. It permits the business to moderate possibly damaging material without dealing with consequences.

The CEOs will appear practically in the past Congress.


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The arrangements of Section 230 have actually come under fire in current months, and political leaders on both sides of the aisle have actually required modifications to it. Democrats are bothered by an apparently limitless circulation of hate speech and disinformation, consisting of disturbance by foreign nations in the 2020 United States governmental election. Republicans, led by President Donald Trump, state social networks websites censor their speech. There is little proof to support those accusations, and the social networks business reject such claims.


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Following an executive order in May from Trump, the Federal Communications Commission agreed to look into Section 230’s liability protections. Separately, Trump has called for repeal of the provision, which could leave Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies accountable for the content on their platforms. 

The hearing before the US Senate Commerce Committee is called “Does Section 230’s Sweeping Immunity Enable Big Tech Bad Behavior?” Here’s what you need to know.

When

It’s set to begin Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT.

Where

The hearing will stream live on the committee’s webpage.  You can also watch on CNET’s YouTube channel here 

What to expect

Republicans on the committee, such as Ted Cruz of Texas and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, will likely blast the Facebook and Twitter executives for limiting the spread of posts about a recent New York Post article regarding the son of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. 

Democrats, such as ranking member Maria Cantwell of Washington and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, will also ask tough questions. But they will likely focus on revisions to Section 230 that would allow for more aggressive efforts to stop disinformation and election interference from foreign adversaries, like Russia and China. 

Zuckerberg has said his social network isn’t opposed to more regulation. He’ll likely push for a more standardized approach to tacking harmful content. 

Dorsey may argue that eliminating Section 230 would make it tougher for social networks to police harmful content. “If we didn’t have that protection, we would not be able to do anything around harassment or to improve the safety or health of the conversation around the platform,” he told Politico in 2018.  

Pichai will likely field questions about YouTube, the massive video platform the search giant owns. YouTube, which gets more than 2 billion visitors each month, has been criticized for its role in spreading misinformation about the pandemic and voting. 

When asked about Section 230 last year, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki defended the legal protection. “If we were held liable for every single piece of content that we recommended, we would have to review it,” Wojcicki told 60 Minutes. “That would mean there’d be a much smaller set of information that people would be finding.”

CNET reporters Marguerite Reardon, Queenie Wong and Richard Nieva contributed to this report.

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