The Three Social Media Musketeers Appear In Front Of Congress,,, Again. Lots Of Bluster, Little Action.

This combination of 2018-2020 photos shows, from left, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The CEOs of social media giants Facebook, Twitter and Google face a new grilling by Congress, Thursday, March 25, 2021, one focused on their efforts to prevent their platforms from spreading falsehoods and inciting violence. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, LM Otero, Jens Meyer)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. 

Three big tech CEO’s appear virtually before members of Congress to discuss a multitude of things, including Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects the platforms from liability for what users post. 

Their’s bluster, awkwardness, tough talk, and then nothing happens. 

It’s like a bad sitcom, only this time some of the lawmakers on the committees involved made it sound like action of some sort may actually be on the horizon. 

On the hot seat was Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook. 

There were times in the five-plus hour testimony when things were entertaining. In other words, tense. The politicians seemed to want to get a handle on the time they had with the CEO’s, so they asked them to stick to “yes” or “no” responses to their questions. 

During one point, Dorsey actually sent out a tweet that appeared to make light of the questioning.  He launched a poll with two options; Yes or No. 

Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y.. responded by saying “Your multitasking skills are quite impressive.”

A number of the committee members made fools of themselves with their line of questioning or blunders they made. Several had a hard time pronouncing Pichai’s name. 

In an exchange that was so comical/awkward you couldn’t make it up, one lawmaker was confused who he was talking to, and asked Zuckerberg about his family’s use of YouTube. Which happens to be a service owned by his rival from Google. 

Not much was resolved.  At the beginning of the hearing there was some hope for anyone rooting for these CEO’s to be held accountable, and that occurred when a member of Congress from Illinois, Democrat’s Jan Schakowsky launched the hearing by saying “Self-regulation has come to the end of its road.”

Tough talk. Great sound bite, but time will tell if there’s any substantive action.  

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