US Senate committee approves sending subpoenas to CEOs of Twitter, Facebook, Google

Monika Bickert, head of global policy management at Facebook, Nick Pickles, public policy director for Twitter, and Derek Slater, global director of information policy at Google, appear before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, on September 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP)

The US Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday unanimously voted to approve a plan to subpoena chief executives of Twitter, Alphabet’s Google and Facebook for a hearing on a prized legal immunity enjoyed by internet companies.

The hearing is likely to discuss reforming Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which offers tech companies protection from liability over content posted by users.

The panel’s top Democrat Maria Cantwell, who opposed the move last week saying she was against using “the committee’s serious subpoena power for a partisan effort 40 days before an election,” changed her mind and voted to approve the move.

“I actually can’t wait to ask Mr. Zuckerberg further questions,” Cantwell said. “I welcome the debate about 230.”

The committee, chaired by Republican senator Roger Wicker, had originally asked the executives to come in Oct. 1 on a voluntary basis and was ready to issue subpoenas last Thursday if needed.

Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a House Financial Services Committee hearing examining the company's plan to launch a digital currency on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, on October 23, 2019. (Reuters)

Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a House Financial Services Committee hearing examining the company's plan to launch a digital currency on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, on October 23, 2019. (Reuters)

“After extending an invite to these executives, I regret that they have again declined to participate and answer questions about issues that are so visible and urgent to the American people,” Senator Wicker said on Thursday.

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Last Update: Thursday, 01 October 2020 KSA 17:52 - GMT 14:52
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