Senate Committee Votes on a Bipartisan Basis to Subpoena the CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter to Testify
The Senate Commerce Committee voted on a unanimous, bipartisan basis Thursday to subpoena the CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter to testify before the panel about concerns over the tech industry’s key legal shield, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, the top Democrat on the committee, initially opposed the subpoena introduced by Chairman Roger Wicker, R-Miss. But on Thursday, Cantwell said she supported the move after Republicans included language in the subpoena about privacy and "media domination."
Cantwell said in her opening remarks: "I welcome the debate about [Section] 230. I think it should be a long and thoughtful process. Not sure a long and thoughtful process will happen before the election, but I understand my colleagues’ desires here today."
Republicans have repeatedly turned to Section 230 as a key area for reform in response to their concerns that social media companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube censor conservative voices.
Chairman Roger Wicker, R-Miss in his opening statement, said both presidential candidates support reform to Section 230. President Donald Trump has issued an executive order targeting changes to the law’s enforcement and Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden told The New York Times editorial board during the primary race that Section 230 'should be revoked.'
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said following the committee’s vote, referring to the tech companies: "Even if you happen to agree with them on a particular issue right now, ceding the power to the star chamber of Silicon Valley is profoundly dangerous."
Cantwell referenced the appearance in her introductory remarks, saying she "can’t wait to ask Mr. Zuckerberg further questions." For more read the full CNBC report.
Although not directly related, Netflix recently aired "The Social Dilemma" documentary that is a powerful exploration of the disproportionate impact that a relatively small number of engineers in Silicon Valley have over the way we think, act, and live our lives. The film deftly tackles an underlying cause of our viral conspiracy theories, teenage mental health issues, rampant misinformation and political polarization, and makes these issues visceral, understandable, and urgent.
Through a unique combination of documentary investigation and entertaining narrative drama, award-winning filmmakers Jeff Orlowski (Chasing Ice, Chasing Coral) and Larissa Rhodes (Chasing Coral) have once again exposed the invisible in a manner that is both enlightening and harrowing as they disrupt the disrupters by unveiling the hidden machinations behind everyone’s favorite social media and search platforms.
I found it to be an eye opener in some ways and must confess that I'm thinking of dropping Patently Apple's Facebook support because of never ending issues with Facebook, especially during this political season. We brought on the social media site MeWe last year as it's potential replacement.
While in some ways I found the documentary disturbing, I still recommend it to those unaware of how devious social media companies have become and are still engaged in activities and programs to manipulate social trends that benefit their bottom lines and political views.