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Watch Live: Facebook and Twitter CEOs face Senate questions on election measures – CBS News

The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing Tuesday to question Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on their companies’ actions around the 2020 presidential election. The two social media leaders are testifying via video at the hearing, titled, “Breaking the News: Censorship, Suppression, and the 2020 Election.”

Zuckerberg and Dorsey promised lawmakers last month they would aggressively guard their platforms from being manipulated by foreign governments or used to incite violence around the election results — and they followed through with high-profile steps that angered President Donald Trump and his supporters. Whether or not the measures will bring meaningful change to the platforms is a dominant focus at Tuesday’s hearing.


How to watch Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey testify


Twitter and Facebook have both slapped a misinformation label on some content from Mr. Trump, most notably his assertions linking voting by mail to fraud. On Monday, Twitter flagged Mr. Trump’s tweet proclaiming “I won the Election!” with this note: “Official sources called this election differently.”

Facebook also moved two days after the election to ban a large group called “Stop the Steal” that Trump supporters were using to organize protests against the vote count. The 350,000-member group echoed Mr. Trump’s baseless allegations of a rigged election rendering the results invalid.

For days after the election as the vote counting went on, copycat “Stop the Steal” groups were easily found on Facebook. As of Monday, Facebook appeared to have made them harder to find, though it was still possible to locate them, including some groups with thousands of members. 

The CEOs were asked Tuesday if they would continue to monitor political disinformation as the all-important Georgia Senate runoffs near. The special election of two Georgia senators in January will determine which party gains control of the Senate. 

Both Democrats and Republicans are worried social media platform bans on political ads could hinder them as they try to reach voters in the state. Facebook and Google both banned political and social issue ads in the wake of the November election. On Wednesday, Facebook confirmed its post-election ban on these ads will continue amid ongoing vote counting and legal efforts in some states.

Regardless, Senator Richard Blumenthal said Tuesday he is concerned that the companies are “backsliding” on moderation. Zuckerberg said that is not the case, and Facebook will take the same approach in Georgia as it did nationally during the presidential election. Dorsey echoed his statement, adding that Twitter also intends to learn from the experience.  

Mr. Trump and the Republicans accuse the social media companies of anti-conservative bias. Democrats also criticize them, though for different reasons. The result is that both parties are interested in stripping away some of the protections that have shielded tech companies from legal responsibility for what people post on their platforms. Biden has heartily endorsed such an action. 

The debate centers on a two-decade-old law known as Section 230. The law makes it possible for internet companies to set rules for speech on their platforms, but avoid being held liable for everything that is said within their confines. 

Democrats, Republicans, and both CEOs, said they are in favor of reforming the law — what specific changes Zuckerberg and Dorsey support is less clear. 

Zuckerberg said it “may be appropriate” for the government to set clear regulatory rules for “certain types of illegal content” on social media, such as child exploitation and terrorism, but maintained that a video posted by Steve Bannon, calling for the beaheading of Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray, does not warrant his account to be taken down.

Twitter banned the former top Trump adviser’s account after he called for the beheading on his podcast. Bannon’s account is still active on Facebook, but the company has removed videos of his remarks for violating its policy on violence and incitement.

Asked by Blumenthal if he will “commit to taking down” the account, Zuckerberg responded: “No, that’s not what our policies would suggest that we should do in this case.”

Note: Streaming plans are subject to change 

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