Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey and Sundar Pichai to testify before Congress this month


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified via video before members of the House judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee in July.

Screenshot by Queenie Wong/CNET

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Google CEO Sundar Pichai will testify before Congress on Oct. 28. The US Senate’s Commerce committee had voted unanimously to subpoena the appearances of Zuckerberg, Pichai and Dorsey, but the CEOs agreed to appear without being subpoenaed, according to The Washington Post.

The hearing will be called “Does Section 230’s Sweeping Immunity Enable Big Tech Bad Behavior?,” the Senate committee said Friday. It relates to changes being considered to s230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which is considered the most important law protecting speech online. It prevents social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, and internet providers, such as Verizon and Comcast, from lawsuits over posts made by users on their services.

The CEOs will be questioned on their companies’ content moderation practices, how their platforms affect local journalism and consumer privacy, and “how best to preserve the internet as a forum for open discourse.” It will be live streamed for the public.

It follows Twitter beginning to label tweets from President Donald Trump in May, flagging them as being “potentially misleading.”  The situation culminated in Trump signing an executive order targeting social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. The order resulted in the Justice Department last week unveiling its proposal to amend Section 230 to remove protections for online platforms.

Jack has voluntarily agreed to testify virtually before the Senate Commerce Committee on October 28 — less than a week before the US Presidential Election,” Twitter confirmed in a tweet. “We’ve made our views clear on reactionary and politicized attempts to erode #Section230. They threaten the future of online speech and Internet freedoms. Reasoned and productive debate is essential.”

Facebook confirmed Zuckerberg’s appearance, but declined to comment. Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Both Zuckerberg and Pichai made virtual appearances before a House antitrust subcommittee in July, along with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Apple CEO Tim Cook.

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