The CEO’s of Facebook, Google, and Twitter are in the nation’s capital today to appear in front of the Senate Commerce Committee to discuss how their companies moderate content posted by users. The CEO’s will also be asked about their companies’ roles in blocking or promoting content.
The majority of the hearings will center around the current Section 230 legislation. Section 230 is basically a tool for protecting websites from legal liability for content that their users publish. The legislation has often been cited as a way to protect freedom of expression on the internet. Currently, websites are placed in charge of removing content that is offensive or objectionable but must act in “good faith.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously argued that the government needs to take a more active role in regulating tech companies. In his prepared remarks released Tuesday, Zuckerberg continues with that line of thinking. “People want to know that companies are taking responsibility for combating harmful content–especially illegal activity–on their platforms,” he said. “They want to know that when platforms remove content, they are doing so fairly and transparently.”
President Donald Trump has targeted Section 230 as a law that is being used to shield the social media companies as they remove content in a bias against Republicans.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Google CEO Sundar Pichai are set to defend Section 230. “Undermining Section 230 will result in far more removal of online speech and impose severe limitations on our collective ability to address harmful content and protect people online,” Dorsey said.
Twitter and Facebook have both recently faced criticism for their handling of the Hunter Biden “hard drive” stories published by the New York Post. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey apologized for blocking the story and will most likely be asked about that apology and decision today.