The CEOs of big tech companies Facebook, Twitter, and Google will testify again before congress next month.
The House Energy & Commerce Committee announced Thursday that it is calling in Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and Sundar Pichai on March 25 to discuss misinformation and disinformation on online platforms.
The misinformation categories include COVID-19 and election fraud, and the impact the spread of falsehoods and doubt has had in the real world.
“Whether it be falsehoods about the COVID-19 vaccine or debunked claims of election fraud, these online platforms have allowed misinformation to spread, intensifying national crises with real-life, grim consequences for public health and safety,” said Energy and Commerce Committee members in a joint statement.
“We must begin the work of changing incentives driving social media companies to allow and even promote misinformation and disinformation.”
This will not be the first time that the three CEOs will appear in front of congress. Mark Zuckerberg has testified seven times before Congress since 2018, and it will be the fourth such instance since July 2020.
Meanwhile, the March hearing will mark the third such occasion for Dorsey and Pichai in the same period.
Zuckerberg and Pichai also testified before Cicilline’s panel last July, along with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Tim Cook of Apple Inc., during a five-hour grilling into their market power.
Zuckerberg also testified along with Dorsey before the Senate Judiciary Committee in November about content moderation and its role in political discourse.
The three CEOs agreed that the companies should be more transparent about the content they remove from their platforms. Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said the company looks “forward to discussing the challenges online platforms face, what we’re doing about them and reiterate our belief that companies shouldn’t be making all of these decisions on our own.”
The fully remote event next month will also serve as a joint hearing between the subcommittees for Communications and Technology and for Consumer Protection and Commerce.
According to multiple reports, the future of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 will be in focus during the hearing. The legislation protects social media companies from being liable for what people say on their platforms, and also grants the ability to moderate content.
The futures of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube depend upon the future of Section 230. The proceedings on March 25 may well decide the future of the said section and can become the catalyst for new legislation to govern the role of big tech moving forward.