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Congress to question US internet giants over disinformation

The heads of Facebook, Google and Twitter are scheduled to testify on March 25 at a US Congressional hearing on the misinformation plaguing online platforms.

Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Jack Dorsey will participate in a remote video hearing coordinated jointly by two congressional subcommittees, one dedicated to communications and technology and the other to consumer protection and commerce, political bodies announced on Thursday.

The subject of the hearing will be disinformation and disinformation online.

“Whether it is falsehoods about the Covid-19 vaccine or allegations of electoral fraud, these online platforms have allowed for the spread of misinformation, intensifying national crises with dire consequences for public health and safety in real life,” said committee heads. in a launch.

“For a long time, big technology has failed to recognize the role it played in fostering and elevating blatantly false information to its online audience.”

The hearing’s announcement came on the same day that Facebook said it would expand its climate information hub and direct its users to experts to unmask myths and rumors in the area, in a fast-track effort to combat disinformation.

The social media giant said it has added a section to its climate hub that features “facts that have unmasked common climate myths” and will feature experts in climate communication from George Mason University, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the University of Cambridge .

The main online platforms remain under attack for allowing disinformation and political manipulation, especially during electoral periods.

Zuckerberg said last month that Facebook is trying to “lower the temperature” on its broad platform, reducing the kind of controversial political conversation it has long held.

Zuckerberg, Pichai and Dorsey have testified before in Congressional hearings, while legislative scrutiny increases in their companies because of concerns about their power and practices in dealing with disinformation.

Meanwhile, political conservatives accuse social media platforms of stifling free speech with moves like fact checking or removing accounts that spread unmasked and dangerous information.

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