Tech bosses Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Jack Dorsey were grilled Thursday over disinformation on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
Politicians believe that the storming of the US Capitol by protesters in January was a tipping point for greater regulation of the social media giants.
Much focus in the hearings, which took place Thursday, will be put on legislation that protects online platforms from liability for content posted by third parties.
Chair Mike Doyle opened the session by asking all three executives whether they felt they bore responsibility for the events at the Capitol. None were prepared to give the one word “yes” or “no” answer he requested.
More generally, the US government is considering scrapping Section 230, the legislation crafted in the early days of the internet so that website owners could moderate sites without worrying about legal liability, by effectively saying that they are not publishers.
Facebook boss Zuckerberg proposed limited reforms.
“We believe Congress should consider making platforms’ intermediary liability protection for certain types of unlawful content conditional on companies’ ability to meet best practice to combat the spread of this content,” he wrote.
Zuckerberg also outlined the efforts his team had made to counter disinformation, including working with 80 fact-checking organizations and labeling debunked stories. Facebook had removed more than 12 million pieces of false content relating to Covid-19, he said.