Facebook, Google and Twitter summoned to Washington again

The three dominant social media players will again have to respond to rumors spread on their platform about the Covid-19 vaccine.

Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Jack Dorsey, respective bosses of Facebook, Google and Twitter, are once again called before the United States Congress to discuss disinformation on their platforms, the House of Representatives committee for the energy and trade. The commission evokes in particular the false rumors about the vaccines against the Covid-19 or the false assertions which circulated on alleged electoral fraud during the American elections of November 2020. This type of disinformation “Exacerbated national crises with serious consequences in real life in terms of public health and security”, declared the elected officials in a press release.

The three leaders will answer their questions on March 25. All are well versed in the exercise: it will be Mark Zuckerberg’s fourth appearance since July, and the third for Sundar Pichai and Mark Dorsey. Previous hearings focused in particular on possible anti-competitive practices and on the legal protection enjoyed by platforms against prosecution related to content published by third parties. Groups neighboring San Francisco Bay have been under fire from political criticism from all sides for several years. Democrats criticize Facebook, Twitter, YouTube (Google) and others for not sufficiently tackling problematic content (incitement to violence, disinformation, hate speech, etc.).

For too long, tech giants have refused to recognize the role they have played in fabricating and spreading false information to their audiences. Self-regulation of the industry has failed. “

American Senators

Republicans, on the other hand, feel censored by social media, although they use it at will for their election campaigns. They will no doubt address the issue of banishing Donald Trump from major platforms. The former US president has perpetuated the myth of a massive election fraud that allowed him to “Want” the election, and encouraged his supporters to come to Capitol Hill. On January 6, rioters violently invaded the headquarters of the American Congress during the certification ceremony of Joe Biden’s victory. These attacks left five dead and shocked the country. “This hearing will allow the committee to continue its work on the responsibility of digital platforms in the rise of disinformation”, added the elected officials. “For too long, the tech giants have refused to recognize the role they have played in fabricating and spreading false information to their audiences. Self-regulation of the industry has failed. ”

In addition to social issues, Google and Facebook face lawsuits from competition authorities for abuse of dominance.

SEE ALSO – Twitter and Facebook were already asserting their political impartiality before the US Senate in November 2020

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