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CEOs of Facebook, Twitter and Google set to be grilled in Senate hearing

October 28, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

On Wednesday, the Senate Commerce Committee will question the CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter amid cries of conservative bias and threats to change a crucial law, known as Section 230, that protects the companies' ability to moderate content as they see fit.

New York (CNN Business)On Wednesday, the Senate Commerce Committee will question the CEOs of Facebook (FB), Google (GOOG) and Twitter (TWTR) amid cries of conservative bias and threats to change a crucial law, known as Section 230, that protects the companies' ability to moderate content as they see fit.

In recent days, Facebook and Twitter have both taken action to slow the spread of some content, bringing about allegations of bias, censorship and even election interference.

In a video released ahead of the hearing, the Senate Commerce Committee highlighted what it says are examples of social platforms' actions against conservative accounts, such as Twitter labeling a tweet from Fox News personality Tucker Carlson, saying the media he shared included "potentially sensitive content. "

"We ensure that all decisions are made without using political viewpoints, party affiliation, or political ideology, whether related to automatically ranking content on our service or how we develop or enforce the Twitter Rules," CEO Jack Dorsey said in prepared remarks viewed by CNN Business.

"To do otherwise would be contrary to both our business interests and our mission, which compels us to make information accessible to every type of person, no matter where they live or what they believe," Pichai said in prepared remarks.

At the heart of the hearing will be Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The companies have invoked the federal law in one court case after another to dismiss potentially costly lawsuits over messages, videos and other content created by users.

All three CEOs in their prepared remarks tried to hammer home the importance of Section 230 to their businesses, and that diminishing it would result in more content takedowns.

While Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's remarks highlight the importance of Section 230, he also said Congress should "update the law to make sure it's working as intended. "

Attacks on Section 230 have escalated in recent days as Facebook and Twitter limited the distribution of a series of articles by the conservative-leaning New York Post that claimed it obtained "smoking-gun" emails about Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, and his dealings in Ukraine.

Facebook said it decided to "reduce distribution" of the article "pending fact-check review" as part of its policy against "misinformation. " Twitter later blocked users from tweeting links to the main story as part of its policy against spreading "hacked materials," even though it wasn't clear whether the underlying emails attributed to Hunter Biden were hacked, copied, or fabricated.

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