Less than a week before the 2020 presidential election, three of the biggest names in technology – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey – will testify before the Senate Committee on Commerce, science and transportation on a law that protects websites from liability for user-generated content.
The commission voted unanimously for the citation of the men on Thursday. According to the committee aides who spoke with them, they are expected to testify on October 28 Politic Friday on condition of anonymity. While the citations are ready for release, they will not be formally issued because the CEOs have voluntarily agreed to appear before the committee, an aide at the outlet said.
Their testimony will address Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a vital legal shield that protects tech companies, large and small, from liability for most of the content their users post online. Codified more than 20 years ago, Section 230 has become a sticking point in recent years for both political parties, with Republicans, including President Donald Trump, claiming without evidence that major tech companies quietly censor conservative and Democratic content. who argue that websites should lose the protections of Section 230 entirely to host misleading political ads, among other offenses. According to Politico, the hearing will also touch on “data privacy and media consolidation”.
The hearing date, which falls just six days before the controversial presidential election in November, was reached after lengthy discussions, a committee aide said. Tech CEOs originally pushed for a later date, but after members of the Republican committee refused, they agreed to voluntarily testify if the subpoena authorization vote passed.
“On the eve of a momentous and highly charged election, it is imperative that this jurisdiction committee and the American people receive a full account from the leaders of these companies on their content moderation practices,” the committee chairman, Senator Roger Wicker he said during Thursday’s session for the Wall Street newspaper.
Both politic the parties fight for full changes to the legislation. Some proposals that garnered support from both sides of the corridor include reviews to hold tech companies accountable for user-generated content involving child exploitation or threats of violence, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. The PACT Act, a bill that would force tech companies to be more transparent about their moderation and remove policies illegal content, he also gained bipartisan support.
This will be the second time this year that top tech executives will testify before Congress. During the summer, the heads of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook appeared before Judicial Commission of the Chamber to direct federal antitrust concerns.