BigTech CEOs testify at US Congress on role of social media in misinformation and extremism

Sundar Pichai (Alphabet), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Jack Dorsey (Twitter) have testified in front of the US House of Representatives on the role of social media in spreading misinformation on COVID 19 pandemic, as well as fostering extremism in relation to the riots at the US Capitol on 6 January 2021. The CEOs of Facebook, Twitter and Google were asked about the decision to ban former President Trump from their respective platforms. 

The debate included the provisions of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which allows platforms to make rules about what users posted content without being held legally responsible for the content. In the opening statements, published ahead of the hearing, Pichai, Dorsey, and Zuckerberg have laid out their views on how they view the platform content regulation and impacts of changes or repeal of Section 230. Zuckerberg’s statement went as far as proposing specific changes to Section 230, and declaring that former President Trump should be responsible for his actions.

Section 230 has been debated by lawmakers – both Republican and Democrat on  whether it gives platforms too much power or too little responsibility, while US President Biden called for its repeal altogether.