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Tech CEOs to testify in House hearing Thursday about spread of misinformation, disinformation

Jack Dorsey, Sundar Pichai, Mark Zuckerberg
Posted at 8:34 AM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 10:45:07-04

CEOs of three of the internet’s largest social media platforms will make a virtual appearance on Capitol Hill Thursday as lawmakers question them about the spread of misinformation on their networks.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will testify Thursday afternoon in a hearing of the House Energy & Commerce Committee.

WATCH THE HEARING BELOW STARTING AT 12 PM EST

While it’s just the latest in a string of testimonies the industry titans have delivered to Congress in recent years, it marks the first big tech hearing in Washington since the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol building — riots that investigators have said were planned and coordinated on social media.

Lawmakers on Thursday are expected to grill the CEOs about their decisions to let misinformation about the election — some of which was pushed by then-President Donald Trump and other top lawmakers — fester on their platforms.

They’re also expected to face questions about the rioters who openly plotted their invasion of the Capitol on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. Charging documents for many of the 400+ people already arrested in connection with the riots list social media posts as evidence.

About a week after the Capitol riot, Facebook took action to remove content linked to the "Stop The Steal" movement, and Twitter removed 70,000 accounts linked to the QAnon conspiracy. Facebook took action to remove about 1,500 QAnon accounts in October.

The hearing also comes a day after 12 attorneys general signed a letter addressed to Dorsey and Zuckerberg, asking the men to take stronger action against misinformation regarding vaccine safety and COVID-19 on their platforms. The letter accuses the CEOs of allowing ant-vaxxers to skirt platform rules while continuing to undermine confidence in vaccines that have been proven to be safe and effective.