The US Congress did not receive a clear answer from the directors of Twitter, Google and Facebook on Thursday night as to whether their platforms are partly responsible for the storming of the Capitol. Policy makers explicitly asked for a yes or no, but did not receive such an answer.
Social media was widely criticized for spreading calls for violence and disinformation allegedly leading to the storming of the Capitol. Supporters of Donald Trump entered the parliament building on Jan. 6, after the outgoing president called on his supporters to take action against the “fraudulent election” in which he lost to Joe Biden.
Only Twitter director Jack Dorsey initially answered yes to the question, but then said that the “broader ecosystem” should be included. Google boss Sundar Pichai called it a complex question and said Google always has a sense of responsibility.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said his company is responsible for developing “effective systems” for counteracting the spread of disinformation. He believes that the perpetrators of violence and Trump should be held responsible for the storm.
Zuckerberg wants a different internet law
Congress questioned the directors for five hours. In particular, their approach to false or dangerous content was discussed. “The movement behind the storming of the Capitol began and grew on your platforms,” said Democrat Mike Doyle.
Several critics in the US are calling for an amendment or repeal of Section 230, part of the Communications Decency Act. This ensures that online platforms are not responsible for what users put on them.
In statements prior to the meeting, Zuckerberg said that section should be amended. According to him, companies are not responsible for what users post if they can demonstrate their commitment to eradicate harmful material.
Yes or no?
The interrogation also discussed the spread of disinformation about the coronavirus and the impact of social media on children. Congress asked for short and clear answers and regularly cut off the directors when they elaborated on anything.
Dorsey posted one out of frustration during questioning poll on Twitter with only a question mark as statement. The followers could choose from ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Democratic Representative Kathleen Rice asked which position won and then said, “Your multitasking skills are impressive.”
Source site www.nu.nl