The Senate Commerce Committee‘s Republicans and Democrats unanimously voted on Oct. 1 to subpoena Big Tech CEOs: Twitter‘s Jack Dorsey, Google‘s Sundar Pichai, and Facebook‘s Mark Zuckerberg, the Verge reported.
The CEOs will testify before Congress regarding Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects Big Tech from free-speech liabilities.
The Senate Commerce Committee has been meeting to consider Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham’s bill to limit the scope of Section 230’s protections.
Section 230 originally encouraged the internet’s growth by allowing free speech, while also letting media platforms remove “reprehensible content,” according to Chairman Roger Wicker, R-Miss.
Big Tech has taken the freedoms which Section 230 has allowed and ran with them.
Most recently, Facebook has vowed to censor content on its platform if the election becomes too chaotic.
“…following repeated and consistent reports of political bias and the suppression of certain viewpoints, I fear that Section 230’s sweeping liability protections for Big Tech are stifling a true diversity of political discourse on the internet,” Wicker’s Majority Statement read.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., condemned the abuses of Big Tech and commended the Committee’s unanimous and bipartisan vote.
“This is a threat that threatens the free speech rights of every American,” Cruz said. “Right now, Big Tech believes it is totally unaccountable, which is why these CEOs declined the invitation.”
“Who in their right mind would want a handful of Silicon Valley billionaires having total control over who is allowed to speak, when they’re allowed to speak, what they’re allowed to say, and what they’re not allowed to say?”
Crack-down on Big Tech comes just weeks before the election. Both sides seek to regulate Big Tech for their own success in November.
Minority Chairman Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., has expresses her concerns regarding Big Tech and Section 230.
“I think the issues that we are discussing of how we function in an information age are of extreme importance. I think the issue of privacy and also media domination by the platforms when they put their foot on the throats of local news media is also an issue.”
Republicans and Democrats agree that Big Tech has too much influence over political opinion.
Whereas Republicans believe big media platforms are controlling free speech too much, Democrats are anxious that they aren’t doing enough.
“What I don’t want to see is a chilling effect on individuals who are in a process of trying to crack down on hate speech or misinformation about COVID during a pandemic,” Cantrell said in her Minority Statement.
“This feels like an attempt to work the refs five weeks out from the election,” said Sen. Brian Schatz, D-HI, according to Axios.
Cruz said the issue at hand is unaccountable corporate power.
“It’s why a subpoena was necessary,” Cruz said. “Because they don’t believe they answer to anybody. At the end of the day, they, like each of us, answer to the American people, answer to federal law and answer to the United States Constitution.”