- A Senate committee voted Thursday to subpoena the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter, and Google to compel them to testify before Congress.
- The CEOs will face questions about concerns over Section 230, a law that shields social media companies from being held liable for the content of users’ posts, as well as privacy and antitrust concerns.
- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey were previously invited to testify before the committee voluntarily. Senators voted to subpoena the CEOs after they didn’t willingly agree to testify.
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A Senate committee voted Thursday to subpoena the CEOs of Facebook, Google, and Twitter to make them testify before congress after the executives didn’t agree to appear voluntarily.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will be compelled to answer questions from the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee about concerns over Section 230, a law that shields social media companies from being held liable for the content of users’ posts.
A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment. Representatives for Google and Twitter did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The CEOs were previously asked to testify before by committee chairman Roger Wicker, a Republican from Mississippi. A spokesperson for Wicker told Business Insider last week that the Senator planned to move to subpoena the CEOs if they didn’t willingly agree to testify.
Democrats have called for Section 230 to be amended to force social media companies to take a firmer stance to moderate hate speech and misinformation on their platforms, while Republicans — including President Donald Trump — have taken aim at the law over perceived anti-conservative bias by big tech companies.
Trump has said that Section 230 protections should be weakened, voicing grievances after Twitter and Facebook applied fact-check labels to his posts that contain misinformation about mail-in voting.
Republicans claim that incidents like Twitter and Facebook’s warning labels are evidence of anti-conservative bias. The tech companies have denied that political bias influences their decisions about how to moderate content, and data shows that conservative sites and pundits regularly generate content that garner the most interactions of any outlets online.
Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, said Thursday that Section 230 should be reformed to give tech companies less power over how content is moderated.
“Even if you happen to agree with them on a particular issue right now, ceding the power to the star chamber of Silicon Valley is profoundly dangerous,” Cruz said.
Meanwhile, Democrats on the Senate panel focused on antitrust as a primary reason to subpoena the CEOs. Both Zuckerberg and Pichai already testified before a House subcommittee in July alongside Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Apple CEO Tim Cook over concerns about the size of their platforms and possible anticompetitive behavior.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said Thursday that she supported the committee’s decision to subpoena the CEOS but that antitrust concerns outweigh allegations of possible political bias.
“We are joining you with this subpoena but you need to join us when it comes to taking on this major, major issue that Senator Cruz has identified when it comes to monopolies,” Klobuchar said to Republicans on the panel.
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