Watch Live: CEOs of Facebook, Twitter and Google face Senate grilling

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The CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google face another grilling in front of Congress on Wednesday, with GOP senators expected to make the case for stripping long-standing legal protections for internet companies.

The Senate Commerce Committee has summoned Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai to testify for a hearing Wednesday. The executives agreed to appear remotely after being threatened with subpoenas.


How to watch the hearing with Big Tech CEOs on Section 230 

  • What: Senate Commerce Committee hearing with testimony from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Alphabet Inc. and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The hearing is titled, “Does Section 230’s Sweeping Immunity Enable Big Tech Bad Behavior?”
  • Date: Wednesday, October 28, 2020
  • Time: 10 a.m. ET 
  • Location: Russell Senate Office Building 253, Washington, D.C. 
  • Online Stream: Live on CBSN in the player above and on your mobile or streaming device 

With the presidential election looming, Republicans, led by President Donald Trump, have thrown a barrage of grievances at social media platforms, which they accuse without evidence of deliberately suppressing conservative, religious and anti-abortion views. Facebook and Twitter faced blowback earlier this month after they acted to curtail the spread of a story from the conservative-leaning New York Post — an unprecedented action against a major media outlet. The story, which was not confirmed by other publications, cited unverified emails from Hunter Biden, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son, that were reportedly disclosed by Trump allies.

The internet as we know it

The debate centers on a two-decade-old law known as Section 230. The law makes it possible for internet companies to set rules for speech on their platforms, but avoid being held liable for everything that is said within their confines. Section 230 is largely responsible for the shape of the internet as it exists today, but critics on all sides of the political spectrum have said the law allows tech giants to abdicate their responsibility to impartially moderate content.

The Justice Department has asked Congress to strip some of tech’s legal protections. Earlier this year, Mr. Trump signed an executive order challenging the protections from lawsuits under the 1996 telecommunications law.

In their opening statements prepared for the hearing, Dorsey, Zuckerberg and Pichai addressed the proposals for changes to the law.

Zuckerberg said Congress “should update the law to make sure it’s working as intended,” adding, “We don’t think tech companies should be making so many decisions about these important issues alone.”

Dorsey and Pichai, however, urged caution in making any changes. “Undermining Section 230 will result in far more removal of online speech and impose severe limitations on our collective ability to address harmful content and protect people online,” Dorsey said.

Pichai urged lawmakers “to be very thoughtful about any changes to Section 230 and to be very aware of the consequences those changes might have on businesses and consumers.” 

Last week, the Justice Department sued Google, accusing it of abusing its dominance in online search and advertising. It’s the government’s most significant antitrust lawsuit since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago. Facebook, Apple and Amazon also are under investigation at the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.

The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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