A day after the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee pushed ahead with plans to subpoena the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google, it looks like some of the most powerful leaders in technology will testify. Twitter announced late Friday that Jack Dorsey will appear before the committee online on October 28, just days before the U.S. election.
While Twitter is by far the only company to publicly agree to attend the hearing, Politico reported that Pichai and Zuckerberg also plan to appear at the hearing.
Members of both parties on the Commerce Committee plan to review section 230 of the Communications Regulation Act, a key legal shield for protecting web platforms from liability for content created by their users.
As we have discussed before, political parties treat article 230 from a very different perspective. Democrats argue that the threat to amend Section 230 is an attempt to force the platform to take harmful content such as miso and harassment more seriously.
Many Republicans argue that technology companies should be stripped of Section 230 protections because the platform is anti-conservative.
Twitter has been critical of this view, calling the claims of political bias “uns substantiated allegations that we have repeatedly refuted to Congress” and noting that they have been “widely refuted” by researchers.
“We will not implement our policies based on political ideology,” the company added.
It sounds very different from the agenda of the members of the Senate. Twitter said it planned to use the hearing as an opportunity to bring the topic to the election. Politico also reported that the scope of the hearing will be expanded to include “data privacy and media integration” — not just Article 230.
A spokesman for the company’s public policy account insisted on Twitter that the hearing “must be constructive” to address how technology companies protect the integrity of the vote.
“At this critical time, we are committed to focusing our attention entirely on what is most important to our company: working together to protect our shared democratic dialogue from harm — and to addressing threats from both foreign and domestic sources,” a Twitter spokesman wrote.
Either way, stripping section 230 protections could have potentially disastrous effects on the way the Internet works, so it’s a big bet for both technology companies and the average Internet user.