The CEOs of technology companies Google, Facebook, and Twitter are expected to testify for an October 28 Senate hearing on tech companies’ control over hate speech and misinformation on their platforms.
Last week, the Senate Commerce Committee voted to authorize subpoenas for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai of Google, and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey to force them to testify if they didn’t agree to do so voluntarily.
On Monday, Spokespeople for the companies said that the CEOs will cooperate.
Twitter said in a tweet in its policy channel that the hearing “must be constructive and focused on what matters most to the American people: how we work together to protect elections.”
The hearing will come less than a week before Election Day. It marks a new bipartisan initiative against Big Tech companies, which have been under increasing scrutiny in Washington and from state attorneys general over issues of competition, consumer privacy, and hate speech.
Sen. Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican who heads the Commerce Committee said that the executives’ testimony is needed “to reveal the extent of influence that their companies have over American speech during a critical time in our democratic process.”
Meanwhile, Facebook is expanding limitations on political advertising, including new bans on messages claiming widespread voter fraud.
The new limitations laid out in a blog post came days after President Donald Trump raised the prospect of mass fraud in the vote-by-mail process during a debate last week with Democratic rival Joe Biden.
The Justice Department has asked Congress to roll back long-held legal protections for online platforms, putting down a legislative marker in Trump’s drive against the social media giants.
The proposed changes would remove some of the bedrock protections that have generally shielded the companies from legal responsibility for what people post on their platforms.
Earlier this year, Trump signed an executive order challenging the protections from lawsuits under a 1996 telecommunications law that has served as the foundation for the unfettered speech on the internet.
On the other hand, Democrats have focused their criticism of social media mainly on hate speech, misinformation, and other content that can incite violence or keep people from voting.