- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will warn lawmakers on Wednesday that changing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act could unintentionally limit speech online and damage competition, in testimony to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

Section 230 affords protection to companies such as Twitter from legal liability for content posted by users on their platforms. The Trump administration and federal lawmakers have honed in on that key provision as they look for ways to curb Big Tech’s behavior.

Mr. Dorsey will say that Section 230 has enabled new companies to compete with much larger companies around the world, according to Mr. Dorsey’s prepared remarks.

“Eroding the foundation of Section 230 could collapse how we communicate on the Internet, leaving only a small number of giant and well-funded technology companies,” Mr. Dorsey will say. “We should also be mindful that undermining Section 230 will result in far more removal of online speech and impose severe limitations on our collective ability to address harmful content and protect people online.”

Mr. Dorsey will testify at Wednesday’s hearing alongside Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The Twitter and Facebook CEOs appear prepared to promote different strategies for future regulation or legislation.

While Mr. Dorsey will express reluctance about changes to Section 230, Mr. Zuckerberg intends to support an “update” and call for a “more active role for governments and regulators,” according to the Facebook CEOs prepared testimony.

Wednesday’s hearing is expected to bring tough questions from lawmakers about the social media companies’ content moderation decisions, with Senate Republicans alleging that the platforms have an anti-conservative bias. GOP lawmakers are furious with Mr. Dorsey and Mr. Zuckerberg over their limiting the distribution of news reports involving Hunter Biden’s emails that reflect poorly on the presidential campaign of his father, Democratic nominee Joseph R. Biden.

The social media platform executives are expected to explain at length how their companies engage in content moderation, with Mr. Dorsey saying Twitter uses a “combination of machine learning and humans” to make decisions, according to his prepared testimony.

“We take a behavior-first approach, meaning we look at how accounts behave before we review the content they are posting,” Mr. Dorsey will say. “Twitter’s open nature means our enforcement actions are plainly visible to the public, even when we cannot reveal the private details of individual accounts that have violated our Rules.”

Mr. Dorsey will urge the lawmakers to use “thoughtfulness and restraint” as it develops regulatory solutions involving tech companies’ content moderation practices.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide