Subpoenas have been issued to the CEOs of the big three social media companies compelling them to appear before a Senate committee to testify on the subject of whether or not they shouldn’t be held liable for content on their platforms.
The Senate Commerce Committee unanimously voted to subpoena Sundar Pichai of Google, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Jack Dorsey of Twitter, to testify on the matter of the Communications Decency Act.
#ICYMI: Today the Committee unanimously approved authorizations to issue subpoenas to Big Tech CEOs.
Public testimony from these CEOs is critical as the Committee considers several proposals to reform the Communications Decency Act.
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— Senate Commerce (@SenateCommerce) October 1, 2020
Under Section 230 of the social media platforms and other websites that publish user-based content are not liable, in most cases, for the content posted by users. This is juxtaposition to laws that govern traditional publishers who can be subject to lawsuits for liable and slander.
“Public testimony from these CEOs is critical as the committee considers several proposals to reform the Communications Decency Act,” said committee chairman Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS). “Technology companies argue that their broad liability shield should remain in place. However, they disproportionately suppress and censor conservative views online.”
President Trump has made it clear that he feels such protections should be eliminated if a social media platform engages in “editorial conduct,” this referring to the addition of so-called fact-check warnings and labels to tweets.
“There has never been such an aggregation of power in the history of humankind as big tech enjoys today, with money and monopoly, power and the hubris that comes with the unchecked use of power,” Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said after the vote.
A date for the hearing has not yet been placed on the committee’s schedule.