US panel set to grill Facebook, Google, Twitter CEOs

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey were set to be grilled by a US panel on Wednesday over the Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

The hearing was scheduled to also cover the topics of privacy and media domination.

The CEOs were to testify on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects tech companies from liability over the content posted by users on their online services.

Earlier this month, the US Senate Commerce Committee voted to subpoena the CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter to testify before the panel.

The hearing will be Zuckerberg and Pichai’s first appearance before Congress since the two testified along with Apple CEO Tim Cook and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos before the House Antitrust Subcommittee in July.

US President Donald Trump’s May 28 executive order sought to blunt Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act which generally protects internet companies from legal liability for user comments.

Republicans have repeatedly turned to Section 230 as a key area for reform in response to their concerns that social media companies censor conservative voices, a charge denied by Facebook, Google and Twitter.

Meanwhile, the US Senate Judiciary Committee has also asked Zuckerberg and Dorsey to testify before it on November 17 over suppressing a media article on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

Both Facebook and Twitter faced backlash from the Republicans and US President Donald Trump for their move to block and censor the article that appeared in The New York Post and was critical of Joe Biden.

The Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) announced that Twitter and Facebook CEOs will appear voluntarily before the committee on November 17.

“The hearing will focus on the platforms’ censorship and suppression of New York Post articles and provide a valuable opportunity to review the companies’ handling of the 2020 election,” the Senate Judiciary Committee said in a statement.