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Facebook, Google, Twitter CEOs to testify at House hearing on misinformation

Facebook, Google, Twitter CEOs to testify at House hearing on misinformation
© Greg Nash

The top executives of Facebook, Google and Twitter will testify next month at a House Energy and Commerce hearing on the spread of online misinformation, the committee announced Thursday. 

The March 25 remote hearing will feature testimony from Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: YouTube to restore Trump's account | House-passed election bill takes aim at foreign interference | Senators introduce legislation to create international tech partnerships Far-right misinformation received highest engagement on Facebook: study Facebook helped fund New York Times columnist David Brooks's think tank project: report MORE, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. 

It follows scrutiny over the handling of false claims regarding the coronavirus, as well as about the results of the recent presidential election. 

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“Whether it be falsehoods about the COVID-19 vaccine or debunked claims of election fraud, these online platforms have allowed misinformation to spread, intensifying national crises with real-life, grim consequences for public health and safety,” Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike DoyleMichael (Mike) F. DoyleHouse Democrats press Facebook on role as a 'breeding ground for polarization' Facebook, Google, Twitter CEOs to testify at House hearing on misinformation House panel to probe conspiracy theories in the news MORE (D-Pa.), and Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyHouse Democrats press Facebook on role as a 'breeding ground for polarization' Facebook, Google, Twitter CEOs to testify at House hearing on misinformation Democrats introduce measure to boost privacy, security of health data during pandemic MORE (D-Ill.) said in a joint statement. 

“For far too long, big tech has failed to acknowledge the role they’ve played in fomenting and elevating blatantly false information to its online audiences. Industry self-regulation has failed. We must begin the work of changing incentives driving social media companies to allow and even promote misinformation and disinformation,” they added. 

House Republicans on the committee had also pushed for a hearing with the CEOs. 

While lawmakers from both parties have criticized the tech giants, they largely differ in their specific criticisms. 

Democrats have accused the platforms of not taking enough action to combat misinformation and hate speech on their platforms, especially after the deadly riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6 that was driven by organization online and the spread of false claims about election fraud. 

Republicans, however, have leveled unsubstantiated claims that the tech giants are censoring content with an anti-conservative bias.