News

Science & Tech

Senate Committee Votes to Subpoena Tech CEOs over Liability Protections

Facebook and Twitter logos are seen on a shop window in Malaga, Spain, June 4, 2018. (Jon Nazca/Reuters)

The Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday voted unanimously to subpoena the CEOs of Facebook, Google, and Twitter to testify on liability protections that guard the tech companies from being sued over content posted by users.

The subpoena requests testimony from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, and Google’s Sundar Pichai, all of whom have previously testified before Congress on various issues. Republican Chairman Roger Wicker of Mississippi pushed last week for the subpoenas, but when they will be issued was not announced.

The committee plans to hold a hearing focusing on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the law that protects tech companies from lawsuits over users’ posted content and allows the companies a large amount of leeway in moderating that content. The time of the hearing is yet to be determined.

“I fear that Section 230’s sweeping liability protections for Big Tech are stifling the true diversity of political discourse on the internet,” Wicker said. “This is not a partisan issue.”

The committee’s ranking Democrat, Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington, had previously opposed the subpoena but agreed to it after Republicans broadened the scope of the subpoena to include data privacy and media issues.

“What I don’t want to see is a chilling effect on individuals who are in a process of trying to crack down on hate speech or misinformation about Covid during a pandemic,” Cantwell cautioned.

Conservatives have long accused Silicon Valley of exhibiting bias against them, and President Trump said last week that he is considering “concrete legal steps” against social media platforms that he believes are censoring conservatives. The companies have denied harboring or acting on any biases.

Democrats on the Commerce Committee ultimately voted in favor of the subpoena but some expressed concern about the timing, saying the hearing should be held after the election.

“This appears to me like an attempt to work the refs coming up to the election,” Democratic Senator Brian Schatz said Thursday.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Most Popular

Elections

The Only Middle Finger Available

If Donald Trump wins a second term, it will be an unmistakable countercultural statement in a year when progressives have otherwise worked their will across the culture. After months and months of statues toppling and riots in American cities and a crime wave and woke virtue-signaling from professional sports ... Read More
Elections

The Only Middle Finger Available

If Donald Trump wins a second term, it will be an unmistakable countercultural statement in a year when progressives have otherwise worked their will across the culture. After months and months of statues toppling and riots in American cities and a crime wave and woke virtue-signaling from professional sports ... Read More
Elections

Hell, No

Welcome to “The Tuesday,” a weekly newsletter about language, culture, politics, and other things you can fight with your family about at Thanksgiving. To subscribe to “The Tuesday” and receive it in your inbox, follow this link. The Case against Trump In 2016, my friend Roger Kimball of Encounter ... Read More
Elections

Hell, No

Welcome to “The Tuesday,” a weekly newsletter about language, culture, politics, and other things you can fight with your family about at Thanksgiving. To subscribe to “The Tuesday” and receive it in your inbox, follow this link. The Case against Trump In 2016, my friend Roger Kimball of Encounter ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More