Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey all agreed to testify virtually before the Senate Commerce Committee on October 28th. For Zuckerberg and Pichai, it’ll be their second major Congressional hearing this year.
Back in July, Zuckerberg and Pichai joined Apple CEO Tim Cook and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos for a Congressional hearing about antitrust concerns. Those who tuned in learned a lot, and documents released after the hearing revealed even more about the companies.
This time around, the Congressional hearing will focus on protections offered to websites under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, according to Politico. Additionally, the hearing will address data privacy and media consolidation. It will take place on October 28th.
It’s worth noting that Zuckerberg, Pichai and Dorsey all agreed to testify voluntarily, but the agreement came after the committee voted to issue subpoenas to the CEOs.
The hearing comes as U.S. politicians work to amend Section 230. Passed in 1996, Section 230 prevents “interactive computer services” from being treated as the publisher or speaker of third-party content. In other words, it protects websites from lawsuits if a user posts something illegal on that site, with some exceptions. As an example, Section 230 would protect Facebook or Twitter from legal action if someone posted misinformation on their platforms.
Republicans have introduced several bills trying to dismantle or change parts of Section 230, such as by restricting protections unless websites meet certain criteria.
Although Section 230 doesn’t apply to Canadians, changes to the U.S. law may lead to changes in how Twitter, Facebook and other platforms operate, which in turn could impact Canadian users. As such, this Congressional hearing will likely be an important one to pay attention to.