US Senate subpoenas heads of Google, Fb and Twitter

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The US Senate Trade Committee has decided to summon the heads of Google, Facebook and Twitter.

This means that Sundar Pichai, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jack Dorsey are being interviewed by senators about their guidelines for different types of content.

One focus will be the legal protection they enjoy in relation to what they leave and tear down on their platforms.

You are also likely to be challenged because of privacy controversies and misinformation.

Republicans and Democrats on the committee voted unanimously in favor of convening the executive board.

It’s likely, however, that each side has different priorities – some Republican members talking about alleged censorship of conservative views on the internet, while Democrats focus on competition and misinformation.

“In the history of mankind there has never been such an aggregation of power as Big Tech enjoys today, with money and monopoly, power and the hubris that comes with the uncontrolled use of power,” said Republican Senator Ted Cruz after the Poll.

The subpoenas follow an earlier hearing back in July when heads of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google testified before a House Committee on competition issues and prejudice.

Protected status

Currently, social media platforms and other websites are protected from law enforcement under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

What this ultimately means is that unlike traditional newspaper publishers, the platforms are not responsible for what is posted by their users when they remove things after notification.

But protection came back into the spotlight this year after President Trump argued that it should no longer apply when social networks are “editorial” – for example, when Twitter began adding warnings and labels to some of the President’s tweets.

Trade Committee Democrats initially objected to their Republican counterparts’ use of subpoena power, but changed their minds for Thursday’s vote after expanding the scope of the discussion.

Mr Trump’s Democratic rival in the upcoming election, Joe Biden, has previously said that Section 230 should be revoked, but for various reasons – what he called “propagating lies”.

The three managing directors were initially invited to participate voluntarily, but declined.

New exam

The new subpoena is the latest regulatory issue facing the tech giants facing a number of critical regulatory decisions in the coming weeks.

The July Congressional hearing with the companies and Amazon looked at antitrust issues, including allegations that they deliberately eliminated smaller competitors in search of dominance.

The congress report on this event is expected to be published next week.

The US Department of Justice is believed to be discussing a potential antitrust case against Google over its practices with attorneys general – a legal lawsuit that could also begin as early as next week.

And similar actions are put together abroad.

Draft of an upcoming European Union law reportedly bans tech giants from preferring their own products.

The draft Digital Services Act, seen by a number of news outlets, says that big tech “gatekeepers” must, under certain circumstances, share user data with competitors in order to level the playing field.

In China, the Reuters news agency reports that the country is preparing its own competition investigation for Google into the operating system of the Android phone.

The US sanctions against Huawei for national security reasons have presented the company – one of the world’s largest phone manufacturers – with a challenge. The company will be using its own non-Android operating system from next year.

This decision is also expected this month.

Related topics

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  • Twitter
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  • United States Senate
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