Lawmakers hammered the chief executives of Twitter, Facebook, Google and one another at a Senate hearing on Wednesday, with Republicans claiming the companies were suppressing conservative views while Democrats accused their colleagues of holding a “sham” hearing for political gain.
For nearly four hours, members of the Commerce Committee pelted Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai with more than 120 questions about social media speech and the harm caused by their platforms, often framing their attacks through the lens of next week’s election.
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Facebook, Twitter and Google face questions from US senators
The chief executives of Facebook, Twitter, and Google faced more than three and a half hours of questions from US senators on Wednesday. At present, the companies cannot be sued over what their users post online, or the decisions they make over what to leave up and take down.
AP Explains: The rule that made the modern internet
Twenty-six words tucked into a 1996 law overhauling telecommunications have allowed companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google to grow into the giants they are today.
Those are the words President Donald Trump’s administration has challenged directly via executive order, one that would strip those protections if online platforms engaged in “editorial decisions.” The CEOs of the three internet companies face questioning Wednesday by the Senate Commerce Committee about Republican claims of anti-conservative bias.
Beyond questioning the CEOs, senators are expected to examine proposals to revise long-held legal protections for online speech, an immunity that critics in both parties say enables the companies to abdicate their responsibility to impartially moderate content.