>> Cecilia Kang, The New York Times
Published: 2020-11-17 17:10:08 BdST
They will probably face many questions about how their social networks handled vote-related posts, videos and photos. Both companies increased their labeling of election misinformation, including posts by President Trump, while false and misleading content surged.
Here is what else to know:
When and where will this take place?
The hearing starts at 10 am Eastern. Zuckerberg and Dorsey will appear via videoconference. They will get questions from the 22 members on the committee, some of whom will be in the committee’s meeting room in the Capitol, and others who will also be appearing via videoconference.
What will be discussed?
The committee chairman, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, called the hearing in October after Twitter and Facebook labelled or limited the reach of a New York Post article about Hunter Biden, the son of President-elect Joe Biden, because of information that was leaked and misleading.
The executives, who have each appeared before Congress several times in recent years about data privacy, disinformation in the 2016 election and content moderation, will probably get numerous repeat questions about how their companies have improved efforts to protect consumers and moderate content without stifling speech. But they will also face new questions, including whether a continued ban on political ads could jeopardise the Senate runoffs in Georgia and why hateful content is still allowed on their sites.
President Donald Trump and his Republican allies have balked at actions by Twitter and Facebook to repeatedly label and hide the president’s posts for violations of policies against spreading false and misleading information about the election. Twitter was particularly active in labelling Trump’s tweets on the day of the election and days after. Members like Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri are expected to blast Dorsey and Zuckerberg for what they describe as censorship of conservatives, claims that are not founded.
CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey testifies remotely during the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing 'Does Section 230's Sweeping Immunity Enable Big Tech Bad Behaviour?', on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, US, Oct 28, 2020. REUTERS
What else might we learn?
The hearing could yield new insights into the postelection temperature of Washington and provide clues for a legislative agenda next year, expected to include new restraints to the power of tech companies. Republicans and Democrats have called for reforms to the 1996 law called Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides legal immunity to online platforms for third-party content.
Other issues could include competition and data privacy. Several members of the committee have expressed concern about the concentration of power among tech giants like Facebook, Google and Amazon, and some have called for some reforms to antitrust laws. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, for instance, has proposed changes to update competition laws to better address the tech sector.
© 2020 New York Times News Service