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Tech Giant CEOs to Face US Senate Committee Over Protection Law

David Paul

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tech giant

Leaders from Facebook, Twitter and Google will voluntarily testify on the 28th of October about a key law protecting internet companies.

Tech giant bosses Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Jack Dorsey are set to speak before a Senate committee in the US to discuss Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

The Facebook, Google and Twitter heads will appear virtually to discuss the reformation of the law, which protects the firms from liability over content posted on their platforms while allowing them to moderate it.

In addition to discussions on reforming the law, the hearing will discuss issues surrounding user privacy and media consolidation online.

The bosses agreed to appear a day after a unanimous vote by the committee to subpoena the three CEOs to appear before the panel.

The hearing will take place six days before the US election, an area where social media firms have come under increased scrutiny for the handling of content around the election on their platforms.

In early September, Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook would ‘restrict’ political ads ahead of the election after he raised concerns about misinformation and voter manipulation.

Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post: “I generally believe the best antidote to bad speech is more speech, but in the finals days of an election there may not be enough time to contest new claims, so, in the week before the election, we won’t accept new political or issue ads.”

President Donald Trump has in the past held tech companies accountable for allegedly stifling conservative voices. Calls for a reform of Section 230 have been intensifying ahead of the election on the 3rd of November.

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In May, Twitter began adding fact-checking labels to tweets to stop the spread of misinformation, even targeting Tweets by Trump.

The president has accused Twitter of “stifling free speech” after it included fact-checking links on a series of his misleading tweets, and claimed the social media giant was “interfering in the 2020 presidential election” and warned that he “will not allow it to happen”.

This will be the second time that Zuckerberg and Pichai will face US lawmakers this year. In July, the four chief executives of the largest tech companies in the world appeared before a Congressional hearing to discuss claims the firms stifle competition.

Zuckerberg and Pichai were joined by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Apple boss Tim Cook before the House Judiciary Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee.

The tech bosses refuted accusations that their respective companies abuse market dominance and limit competition.

Combined, the companies have a joint-market value of more than $5 trillion (£3.8trn).

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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