Tag: Senate

05
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

CEOs of 3 tech giants to testify at Oct. 28 Senate hearing

This combination of 2018-2020 photos shows, from left, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. They are expected to testify in an Oct. 28, 2020 Senate hearing on tech companies’ control over hate speech and misinformation on their platforms.

This combination of 2018-2020 photos shows, from left, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. They are expected to testify in an Oct. 28, 2020 Senate hearing on tech companies’ control over hate speech and misinformation on their platforms.

AP

The CEOs of technology giants Facebook, Google and Twitter are expected to testify for an Oct. 28 Senate hearing on tech companies’ control over hate speech and misinformation on their platforms.

The Senate Commerce Committee voted last week to authorize subpoenas for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai of Google and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey to force them to testify if they didn’t agree to do so voluntarily. Spokespeople for the companies said Monday that the CEOs will cooperate.

The hearing “must be constructive and focused on what matters most to the American people: how we work together to protect elections,” Twitter said in a tweet in its policy channel.

The hearing will come less than a week before Election Day. It marks a new bipartisan initiative against Big Tech companies, which have been under increasing scrutiny in Washington and from state attorneys general over issues of competition, consumer privacy and hate speech.

The executives’ testimony is needed “to reveal the extent of influence that their companies have over American speech during a critical time in our democratic process,” said Sen. Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican who heads the Commerce Committee.

Facebook, meanwhile, is expanding restrictions on political advertising, including new bans on messages claiming widespread voter fraud. The new prohibitions laid out in a blog post came days after President Donald Trump raised the prospect of mass fraud in the vote-by-mail process during a debate last week with Democratic rival Joe Biden.

With Trump leading the

03
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Twitter, Facebook to Send CEOs to Senate Hearing on Section 230

Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. will send their chief executive officers to a U.S. Senate hearing later this month devoted to a law that shields internet companies from liabilities. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. will send their chief executive officers to a U.S. Senate hearing later this month devoted to a law that shields internet companies from liabilities. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

(Bloomberg) — Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. will send their chief executive officers to a U.S. Senate hearing later this month devoted to a law that shields internet companies from liabilities.

A Senate panel voted to subpoena the heads of Twitter, Facebook and Alphabet Inc.’s Google for an Oct. 28 session focusing on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a provision that protects the companies from lawsuits over user-generated content. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have agreed to attend voluntarily, their companies said.

The hearing “must be constructive & focused on what matters most to the American people: how we work together to protect elections,” Twitter said Friday in a tweet confirming Dorsey’s attendance.

A Google spokeswoman didn’t immediately comment on whether Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai had agreed to attend the hearing. The Washington Post, citing an unidentified source, reported earlier that all three company CEOs would testify.


There’s bipartisan agreement in the Senate that Facebook, Twitter and Google are failing to properly manage content posted by billions of users to their platforms. But lawmakers disagree on the nature of the problem. While Democrats have called out the platforms for allowing misinformation that could affect the election, as well as hate speech and conspiracy theories, some Republicans have blasted the companies for censoring conservative voices and ideas– claims the platforms have rejected.

“Alleged ‘political bias’ remains an unsubstantiated allegation that we have refuted on many occasions to Congress,” Twitter said in a

02
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Tech CEOs will testify before Senate Commerce Committee

By David Shepardson and Nandita Rose | Reuters

WASHINGTON – The chief executives of Facebook <FB.O, Twitter and Alphabet-owned Google have agreed to voluntarily testify at a hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee on Oct. 28 about a key law protecting internet companies.

Facebook and Twitter confirmed on Friday that their CEOs, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, respectively, will appear, while a source said that Google’s Sundar Pichai will appear. That came a day after the committee unanimously voted to approve a plan to subpoena the three CEOs to appear before the panel.

Twitter’s Dorsey tweeted on Friday that the hearing “must be constructive & focused on what matters most to the American people: how we work together to protect elections.”

The CEOs are to appear virtually.

In addition to discussions on reforming the law called Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects internet companies from liability over content posted by users, the hearing will bring up issues about consumer privacy and media consolidation.

Republican President Donald Trump has made holding tech companies accountable for allegedly stifling conservative voices a theme of his administration. As a result, calls for a reform of Section 230 have been intensifying ahead of the Nov. 3 elections, but there is little chance of approval by Congress this year.

Last week Trump met with nine Republican state attorneys general to discuss the fate of Section 230 after the Justice Department unveiled a legislative proposal aimed at reforming the law.

The chief executives of Google, Facebook, Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc recently testified before the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel. The panel, which is investigating how the companies’ practices hurt rivals, is expected to release its report as early as next Monday.

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01
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Senate panel issues subpoenas for Big Tech CEOs

A Senate panel voted Thursday to subpoena the top executives of Facebook, Google and Twitter to answer questions on disinformation, online scams and a range of social ills.

The Commerce Committee agreed unanimously to call Jack Dorsey of Twitter, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Sundar Pichai of Google parent Alphabet.

The move comes with Big Tech platforms facing heightened scrutiny on monopoly concerns, and also for failing to stem hateful and nefarious content.

“After extending an invitation to these executives, I regret that they have again declined to participate and answer questions on the record about issues that are so visible and urgent to the American people,” said Republican Senator Roger Wicker, who chairs the panel.

“We have questioned how they are protecting and securing the data of millions of Americans, we’ve explored how they’re combating disinformation fraud and other online scams, we’ve examined whether they are providing a safe and secure internet experience for children and teens.”

Wicker added that the panel wants to know “how they are removing content from their sites that encourages extremism and mass violence… their use of secret algorithms that may manipulate users and drive compulsive usage of the internet, among our youth.”

Big Tech firms, including Amazon, Apple and Microsoft, have seen their economic power grow in recent years and accelerate during the coronavirus pandemic, dominating a range of economic sectors.

President Donald Trump and his allies have claimed tech platforms are biased against conservatives, despite his own vast social media following.

Democrats meanwhile have expressed concerns over monopoly abuses and the failure of social media to stem misinformation from Trump himself.

Lawmakers from both parties have called for changes to the legal liability shield of online services under a law known as Section 230, claiming the provision enables toxic and harmful content