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Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Google’s Sundar Pichai speak at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing about the spread of disinformation on their platforms.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Sundar Pichai and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey testify before Congress about misinformation and falsehoods plaguing online platforms… Photo by Greg Nash of the pool.
The riots on Capitol Hill and the movement behind it started and were sparked by your platforms, Rep. Mike Doyle, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, to the C.E.O.Credit Board’s Energy and Commerce Committee….. via YouTube.
Democratic lawmakers have accused politicians of enabling misinformation on the Internet, reflecting their growing frustration with the spread of extremism, conspiracy theories and lies on the Internet following the 6th Amendment riots. January on Capitol Hill.
Their comments opened the first hearing since President Biden’s inauguration with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Sundar Pichai and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey. They showed that scrutiny of business practices in Silicon Valley is not waning and may even be increasing with Democrats in the White House and leaders in both houses of Congress.
The January riot has made the issue of misinformation very personal for many legislators. Some participants have been linked to online conspiracies such as QAnon, which have tried to shut down platforms in recent months.
We fled when the mob desecrated the Capitol, the House of Representatives and our democratic process, said Representative Mike Doyle, a Democrat from Pennsylvania. This attack and the movement behind it began and fed off your platforms.
The lawmakers argued that the platforms also provided false information about the coronavirus pandemic.
The growing frustration among lawmakers comes at a time when they are considering whether platforms’ business models should be more strictly regulated. Some have suggested changing the legal shield that protects websites from lawsuits over content posted by their users, arguing that it allows companies to avoid negligent oversight of their products.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, said Thursday that leaders need to take back what self-regulation has killed off.
Republican Bob Latta of Ohio accused the platforms of serving a radical progressive agenda. related to the Energy and Commerce Committee’s appropriation, via YouTube.
Republican lawmakers showed up to hear about the riots on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, but their hostility focused on the platform’s decisions to ban right-wing figures, including former President Donald Trump, for inciting violence.
The decisions, Mr. Ban Trump, many of his associates and other conservatives amount to liberal bias and censorship, they say.
We are all aware of Big Tech’s increasing censorship of conservative voices and their desire to serve a radical progressive agenda, said Bob Latta, the ranking Republican member of the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee.
After the riots on Capitol Hill, Trump and some of his top aides are being banned from major social media temporarily or indefinitely.
Latta’s remarks at the hearing are expected to be supported by many Republicans. They argue that platforms have become gatekeepers of information and accuse companies of trying to suppress conservative views. These claims are continually refuted by scientists.
Mr. Latta falls under the legal protection known as section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and has received legal protection from major technology companies.
Section 230 provides protection from liability for content moderation decisions made in good faith, Latta said. But, he says, companies seem to use their moderation powers to censor opinions they disagree with. I think this is very important.
Executives from Facebook, Alphabet and Twitter are expected to face tough questions from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Democrats have focused on misinformation, especially since the uprising on Capitol Hill. Republicans, meanwhile, have already raised questions with companies about their decisions to remove conservative figures and stories from their platforms.
New York Times reporters cited many possible examples. Here are the facts you need to know about them:
After his son was stabbed to death in Israel in 2016 by a member of the militant group Hamas, Stuart Force ruled that Facebook was partly responsible for the death because the algorithms controlling the social network favored the distribution of Hamas content. He joined the relatives of other victims of terrorism in suing the company, alleging that the company’s algorithms encourage the commission of crimes by regularly distributing messages that incite terrorist acts. Arguments about the power of algorithms have resonated in Washington.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has enabled the success of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and countless other Internet companies. However, the liability protection under Section 230 extends to external websites known to contain hateful, anti-Semitic or racist messages. With Washington increasingly targeting big tech companies over a variety of issues, including how they handle the dissemination of misinformation or control hate speech, Section 230 has gained new interest.
After heating up political tempers worldwide, Facebook is now trying to calm tempers. The social network has begun changing its algorithm to reduce political content in users’ news feeds. Facebook announced the changes earlier this year when CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company was experimenting with ways to appease divisive political debates. One of the main feedback we’re getting from our community right now is that people don’t want their experiences to be included in our services, he said.
When the Electoral College stopped the election of Joseph R. Biden, Jr. the voter misinformation. But the online scammers have been spreading lies about Covid 19 vaccines. According to investigators, Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Green and far-right websites like ZeroHedge have begun spreading false stories about vaccines. Their efforts were supported by a powerful network of anti-vaccine activists like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
In the end, two California billionaires did what legions of politicians, prosecutors and enforcers have tried and failed to do for years: They pulled the plug on President Trump. Journalists and historians will spend years dissecting the improvised nature of the bans and wondering why they came at the right time. Trump was losing power and the Democrats were threatening to take over Congress and the White House. The bans have also fueled the debate over freedom of expression that has been going on for years.
In July, executives from Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook testified. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has testified six times before Capitol Hill. Photo of Mandel Ngan in the pool…
When Congress asked Google, Facebook and Twitter in the fall of 2017 to testify about their role in Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the companies did not send their executives, as lawmakers had requested, but instead brought in their lawyers.
At the hearing, politicians complained that the attorneys general were answering questions about whether corporations undermine the democratic process, rather than the people who actually make the decisions, as Senator Angus King, an independent from Maine, put it.
It was clear that Capitol Hill needed a pound of flesh from the CEO, and that hiding behind lawyers wouldn’t last long. Initial concerns about how Silicon Valley bosses will handle questions from lawmakers are no longer relevant. After numerous auditions over the years, both virtual and in person, the leaders have had plenty of practice.
Since 2018, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has testified on three separate occasions. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified four times, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified six times.
And when the three men are questioned again on Thursday, they will do so now, like seasoned veterans in the art of fending off the most vicious attacks, and then proceed to their carefully practiced interviews.
In general, Pichai tends to politely and quickly disagree with the sharpest criticism from lawmakers, as when he was asked last year why Google was stealing content from honest companies, but without insisting. When a politician tries to contradict him on an issue, he often resorts to the familiar tactic of procrastination: My staff will contact you.
Mr. Pichai isn’t a dynamic technology leader like Steve Jobs or Elon Musk, but his understatedness and sincerity fit well with the congressional spotlight.
Zuckerberg has also become more comfortable with the public over time and has become more adamant about the actions the company takes to combat misinformation. In his first appearance of 2018, Zuckerberg was angry and promised he would do better if he didn’t protect user data and prevent Russian interference in the election.
Since then, he has been spreading the message that Facebook is a platform for good, while carefully outlining the steps the company is taking to eradicate misinformation on the Internet.
Dorsey’s speeches, bent over a hand-held camera, are just one more man in the zoom range, compared to the neutral, softly lit backdrop of Google and Facebook executives.
Mr. Dorsey usually remains extremely calm – almost zen when pressed on aggressive topics – and often deals with technical issues that are rarely illegal to pursue.
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