Huge Tech CEOs informed ‘time for self-regulation is over’ by US lawmakers

WASHINGTON: The chief executives of Fb, Google and Twitter appeared earlier than Congress on Thursday to reply questions on extremism and misinformation on their providers of their first appearances since pro-Trump rioters assaulted the US Capitol on Jan. 6.
Fb Inc Chief Government Mark Zuckerberg; Sundar Pichai, chief govt of Google dad or mum Alphabet Inc; and Twitter Inc CEO Jack Dorsey are testifying earlier than the joint listening to by two subcommittees of the Home Power and Commerce Committee.
Whereas the listening to is digital, advocacy group SumOfUs erected cut-outs of the three CEOs dressed as Jan. 6 rioters on the Nationwide Mall close to the Capitol. One confirmed Zuckerberg because the “QAnon Shaman,” a shirtless rioter sporting horns.
Lawmakers started the listening to by criticizing the social media platforms for his or her function within the riot and within the unfold of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.
“You didn’t meaningfully change after your platform has performed a task in fomenting rebellion and abetting the unfold of the virus and trampling American civil liberties,” stated Democratic Consultant Frank Pallone, chair of the Power and Commerce committee.
“Your online business mannequin itself has turn out to be the issue and the time for self-regulation is over. It is time we legislate to carry you accountable,” he added.
Republicans on the panel additionally criticized the tech giants for what they see as efforts to stifle conservative voices.
Former President Donald Trump, accused of inciting the Jan. 6 violence, has been banned by Twitter. Fb has requested its unbiased oversight board to rule on whether or not to bar him completely. He’s nonetheless suspended from YouTube.
Some lawmakers are calling for Part 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields on-line platforms from legal responsibility over consumer content material, to be scrapped or rejigged. Some Democrats, together with President Joe Biden, agree.
The three CEOs have all appeared in entrance of Congress earlier than, with Fb’s Zuckerberg clocking up seven appearances since 2018.
In written testimony launched on Wednesday, Fb argued that Part 230 needs to be redone to permit corporations immunity from legal responsibility for what customers placed on their platforms provided that they observe finest practices for eradicating damaging materials.
Lawmakers’ scrutiny of misinformation on main on-line platforms intensified after U.S. intelligence companies stated Russia used them to intervene within the 2016 presidential election.
Final yr noticed false narratives about voter fraud that spurred Trump supporters to arrange on-line and are available to Washington on Jan. 6, in addition to untruths concerning the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, bogus remedies for the coronavirus and the protection of vaccinations.

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