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Facebook, Google and Twitter CEOs to testify to disinformation

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Tech CEOs Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Jack Dorsey will soon have to answer lawmakers about the rise in disinformation on their platforms and how they plan to address it, such as the Energy and Energy Committee. Chamber Commerce announced Thursday a hearing with Facebook, Google and Twitter Leaders will take place on March 25.

Highlights

Zuckerberg, Pichai and Dorsey, who run Facebook, Google and Twitter respectively, will testify in a remote hearing about the misinformation and disinformation plaguing online platforms, the House committee said.

The hearing will deepen the work of the committees of holding online platforms accountable for issues on their platforms, the committee chair, representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (DN.J.) and subcommittee chairs, representatives Mike Doyle (D-Penn.) And Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) Said in a statement.

Lawmakers have identified misinformation about electoral fraud and the Covid-19 pandemic and the vaccine as particular areas of concern.

Technology leaders have previously testified before lawmakers in recent months, including one audience with the three CEOs before the Senate Trade Committee on Section 230, which protects tech companies from legal liability for content posted by their users.

Crucial quote

For too long, big tech failed to recognize the role they played in promoting and disseminating blatantly false information to their audiences online. Self-regulation of the industry has failed, Pallone, Doyle and Schakowsky said in a statement. We need to start the work of changing the incentives for social media companies to allow and even promote disinformation and disinformation.

Large number

93%. That’s the percentage of Americans who say they’re either very or rather about the spread of disinformation on the Internet, according to a Gallup / Knight Foundation. to study conducted in September.

Tangent

The House Judiciary Committee also separately announced its intention to investigate big tech on Thursday, unveiling a series of antitrust hearings aimed at curbing the market dominance of tech giants as it drafts antitrust legislation. The renewed investigation will continue the ongoing work of the antitrust subcommittees on tech giants and their monopoly power, which included a hearing in July with Dorsey, Pichai, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Key context

Online disinformation and its spread across major social media has come under intense scrutiny in recent months, particularly amid the Covid-19 pandemic and around the November elections. Social media companies have taken important steps to curb the spread of false information, such as Twitter adding safeguards to limit the sharing of posts that have been flagged for disinformation and Facebook announcing on Thursday new efforts to tackle disinformation on climate change. Despite their efforts, however, the disinformation still persists: An October study by the German Marshall Fund of the United States found that engagement with producers of fake content on Facebook had increased 102% since 2016, for example, so that in September to study University of Oxford found that Facebook’s third-party fact checkers captured less than one percent of Covid-19 disinformation videos on the platform.

Further reading

House to grill Facebook, Google and Twitter CEOs as Washington seeks crackdown on disinformation and antitrust (Washington Post)

Facebook continues to fight disinformation and plans to debunk climate change myths (Forbes)

Here’s how Facebook, Twitter and TikTok are battling coronavirus misinformation (Forbes)

Facebook users interacting with disinformation much more now than in 2016, study finds (Forbes)

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