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Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to express openness to Section 230 reform | Facebook removes accounts linked to foreign influence efforts ahead of election | YouTube adding warnings to videos, searches on Election Day

Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to express openness to Section 230 reform | Facebook removes accounts linked to foreign influence efforts ahead of election | YouTube adding warnings to videos, searches on Election Day
© getty: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Welcome to Hillicon Valley, The Hill's newsletter detailing all you need to know about the tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. If you don’t already, be sure to sign up for our newsletter with this LINK.

Welcome! Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech team, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@chrisismills) and Rebecca Klar (@rebeccaklar_), for more coverage.

Virtual Event Announcement: America's Agenda: Infrastructure 

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America needed to refresh its aging infrastructure prior to COVID-19. Now, there is added pressure on our existing digital infrastructure as more Americans are working and learning from home full time. How can we bring our physical infrastructure into the future and embrace options for increased safety and security by connecting them to smart, data-informed systems? On Thursday, October 29th at 1:00 PM ET, Reps. Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisGOP Rep. Dan Newhouse tests positive for COVID-19 Colorado Democrat Ed Perlmutter tests positive for coronavirus Biden's gain is Democratic baseball's loss with Cedric Richmond MORE, Sam GravesSamuel (Sam) Bruce GravesLawmakers say infrastructure efforts are falling victim to deepening partisan divide The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump, Biden blitz battleground states Hillicon Valley: Big Tech hearing the most partisan yet | Rubio warns about foreign election interference | Trump campaign site briefly hacked MORE and Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonRecord number of Black women elected to Congress in 2020 Lawmakers say infrastructure efforts are falling victim to deepening partisan divide The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump, Biden blitz battleground states MORE join us for "America's Agenda: Infrastructure." RSVP today for event reminders! Learn more here 

COMING SOON TO A HEARING NEAR YOU: Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Facebook content moderators demand more workplace protections | Ousted cyber official blasts Giuliani press conference | Tech firms fall short on misinformation targeting Latino vote Facebook says AI is aiding platform's ability to remove hate speech Facebook content moderators demand more workplace COVID-19 protections MORE will express support for reforming Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act during a Senate hearing on the online liability law, according to prepared testimony reviewed by The Hill.

“Section 230 made it possible for every major internet service to be built and ensured important values like free expression and openness were part of how platforms operate,” he is set to say.

“However, I believe Congress should update the law to make sure it’s working as intended. We support the ideas around transparency and industry collaboration that are being discussed in some of the current bipartisan proposals, and I look forward to a meaningful dialogue about how we might update the law to deal with the problems we face today.”

Zuckerberg’s new openness to reforming the 1996 law may signal that Facebook believes the political winds are turning against Section 230.

The law, which has faced increased scrutiny since President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Trump's remaking of the judicial system Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit MORE targeted it in an executive order in May, gives internet companies immunity from lawsuits for content posted on their sites by third parties and allows them to make "good faith" efforts to moderate content.

Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Google’s Sundar Pichai, the other two executives testifying in front of Senate Commerce on Wednesday, are set to continue defending the law as important to maintaining freedom of expression online.

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"We should also be mindful that undermining Section 230 will result in far more removal of online speech and impose severe limitations on our collective ability to address harmful content and protect people online," Dorsey will say, according to prepared testimony obtained by The Hill.

Read more here.  

FACEBOOK REMOVES FOREIGN NETWORKS: Facebook on Tuesday announced it had removed three networks made up of dozens of accounts and pages tied to foreign malign influence efforts, including accounts linked to Iranian interference in U.S. elections. 

Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security policy, announced the takedowns in a blog post, noting that the company had removed 12 Facebook accounts, six pages and 11 Instagram accounts tied to Iran for violating the platform’s policies around government interference.

Facebook removed the network of accounts after a tip from the FBI, with Gleicher noting that one account was removed due to its attempts “to seed false claims and unsubstantiated election-related threats as part of an influence operation carried out primarily via email.”

The takedown comes one week after the FBI, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and other federal authorities announced that Russian and Iranian agents had successfully gained access to U.S. voter registration data and were using it to interfere in U.S. elections. 

The Iranian effort was tied to emails received by voters in at least three states, primarily Florida, that threatened violence against those targeted if they did not vote for President Trump

Read more here 

NO NEW ADS: Facebook will stop accepting new political ads for a week starting Tuesday as part of its efforts to guard against misinformation in the lead-up to Election Day.

Politicians and issue groups will be able to continue running previously purchased ads on the platform until Nov. 3. As soon as polls close on election night, all political ads will be temporarily removed from the platform.

Facebook has told advertisers the post-election freeze should last about one week, while noting that the duration could be determined based on how the situation develops regarding vote tallies and declared winners.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, presidential and congressional races may take longer to call than normal, creating a situation ripe for capitalizing on confusion.

Facebook does not fact-check political ads.

Read more here 

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WARNING LABELS: YouTube announced on Tuesday that it is adding warnings to searches and videos on Election Day, the latest move as social media companies race to curb misinformation. 

YouTube said in a blog post that it will place an “information panel” at the top of results for searches related to the election and under videos that discuss the election.

The panel will note that “election results may not be final” and link to Google’s election results feature that will enable users to track the election in real time. Election results will be provided by The Associated Press.

The company wrote in a separate blog post that it will continue promoting “authoritative” news sources — like CNN and Fox News — for election-related news and information. It also said its recommendations system will “also keep limiting the spread of harmful election-related misinformation and borderline content.” 

Read more here

NIXING NET NEUTRALITY: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted along party lines Tuesday to reaffirm its order rolling back net neutrality regulations in response to a request from the courts. 

The commission voted 3-2 in a decision reaffirming the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, with Chairman Ajit Pai (R), who voted with the majority, arguing the order promotes public safety and facilitates broadband infrastructure deployment. 

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Republican commissioners Michael O’Reilly and Brendan Carr voted in favor of reaffirming the order, while Democratic commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks dissented. 

Rosenworcel said the FCC’s vote “doubled down on the mess it made.” 

The FCC voted along party lines in 2017 to repeal the rules prohibiting broadband companies from blocking, throttling or prioritizing certain websites, rolling back net neutrality regulations put in place under former President Obama. 

The order voted on Tuesday leaves the FCC’s net neutrality position unchanged, but it responds to issues raised by the D.C. Circuit Court in a case reviewing the 2017 order. 

Read more here 

THAT’S SUSPICIOUS: Election officials said they are getting suspicious emails that could be a part of a widespread malicious attack on voting across several states, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

Several emails identified by the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC) appeared to impersonate state elections directors, according to a private alert sent Friday and reviewed by the Journal. 

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These emails requested the election official recipients click on a link to get two-factor authentication hardware, but the EI-ISAC, an information sharing group, did not find malicious links or attachments in most of the emails sampled. 

Another set of emails impersonated voters with disabilities who were asking about ways to vote from home. 

Read more here 

CHINA CLAMPS DOWN: China’s top cybersecurity agency on Monday announced plans for a "rectification" of Chinese mobile internet browsers, which the group argues “have become a gathering place” of “chaos.” 

According to Reuters, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said in a statement Monday that mobile browsers in China have until Nov. 9 to complete a "self examination" to address issues including the spread of misinformation, sensational headlines and content that conflicts with the values of socialism.

"For some time, mobile browsers have grown in an uncivilised way ... and have become a gathering place and amplifier for dissemination of chaos by 'self-media'," the CAC said, referring to news-centered social media accounts independent of the Chinese government. 

"After the rectification, mobile browsers that still have outstanding problems will be dealt with strictly according to laws and regulations until related businesses are banned,” the agency added. 

Reuters reported that the CAC announced it will initially be focusing on the top eight mobile browsers in the country, which include those run by Huawei Technologies, Alibaba Group Holding's UCWeb and Xiaomi. 

Read more here

GOOGLE PARTNERS WITH NOAA: Google and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have signed a three-year deal to use the tech giant’s artificial intelligence and machine learning to enhance the agency’s environmental monitoring, weather forecasting and climate research, according to a joint announcement released Tuesday. 

Research under the deal initially focused on developing small-scale artificial intelligence and machine learning systems, and based on the results, NOAA and Google Cloud will focus on executing full-scale prototypes the agency could use across its organization. 

“Strengthening NOAA’s data processing through the use of big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other advanced analytical approaches is critical for maintaining and enhancing the performance of our systems in support of public safety and the economy,” NOAA acting administrator Neil Jacobs said in the announcement. 

“I am excited to utilize new authorities granted to NOAA to pursue cutting-edge technologies that will enhance our mission and better protect lives and property,” Jacobs added. 

Google engineers and data scientists have used artificial intelligence research to develop new methods for understanding and predicting weather.

Read more here 

AMAZON’S HIRING: Amazon plans to hire 100,000 seasonal workers for the 2020 holiday season, the company announced Tuesday. 

The retail giant’s planned hiring haul is half of the 200,000 seasonal employees hired for last year’s holiday season, according to Bloomberg News. But it follows Amazon’s mass hiring earlier in the year as demand for online ordering has surged amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Amazon hired 175,000 workers as part of a hiring campaign that began in March as the company experienced holiday-like demand early in 2020. The company also committed to hiring 100,000 people for its logistics network, according to Bloomberg. 

The new jobs will be in the operations group and will involve stowing, picking, packing, shipping and delivering. But they could also include managing people, being a safety ambassador, working in human resources, IT and operating robotics, according to a release. 

Read more here

 

Lighter click: Let your wife spend time with her boyfriend instead!

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NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB:

Despite cries of censorship, conservatives dominate social media (Politico / Mark Scott)

Silicon Valley could wreck audio journalism—unless Washington acts first. (Washington Monthly / Grace Gedye)

The hardest questions tech CEOs could be asked at the Section 230 hearing (Protocol / Issie Lapowsky and Emily Birnbaum)

Tech platforms continue to let U.S.-based hate groups use them to make payments (NBC News / Olivia Solon)