The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation has unanimously voted to subpoena the CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter to face questions over their content policies.
A particular area of focus will be the internet platforms’ protections afforded by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a statute that means such platforms do not face the same legal liabilities as traditional media.
In a statement, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, noted how the CEOs of the three companies have denied earlier requests to appear in front of the body.
“Technology companies argue that their broad liability shield should remain in place,” he said. “However, they disproportionately suppress and censor conservative views online. Public testimony from these CEOs is critical as the Committee considers several proposals to reform the Communications Decency Act.”
It remains unclear when Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, and Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, will face the grilling, but media reports suggest it may take place ahead of the November general election.
The development is just the latest case of mounting public pressure against the major internet platforms, with several presidential hopefuls campaigning on the promise to “Break Up Big Tech.”
In July, Pichai and Zuckerberg, along with the chief execs of Amazon and Apple, appeared in front of the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee where they faced five hours of questions from politicians.