Facebook, Google CEOs propose measures to reform internet law

By Amirtha P S, Trainee Reporter
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The American technology conglomerate Facebook’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has put forward measures to reform a key internet law, pointing out that firms should have immunity from liability only if they follow best practices for cutting out damaging contents from their platforms.

In testimony prepared for a joint hearing before two House Energy and Commerce subcommittees, Mr. Zuckerberg acknowledged the calls from lawmakers for reforming Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives companies like Facebook immunity from liability over content posted by users.

The hearing titled “Disinformation Nation: Social media’s role in promoting extremism and misinformation” is formulated to address the concerns raised by the Democrats regarding the spread of misinformation during the coronavirus pandemic and the presidential election. It is also likely to discuss ways to hold tech platforms accountable by amending the internet law.

The search engine giant Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai will also make similar suggestions to reform the law but, will not advocate for the adoption of a set of best practices, according to his testimony, while Twitter’s Jack Dorsey will highlight the measures the platform has followed to tackle misinformation.

“Platforms should not be held liable if a particular piece of content evades its detection, that would be impractical for platforms with billions of posts per day,” Mr. Zuckerberg wrote in his testimony.

Mr. Pichai also took a similar opinion by pointing out “without Section 230, platforms would either over-filter content or not be able to filter content at all.” Google’s CEO proposed solutions like developing content policies that are clear and accessible, notifying people when their content is removed and giving them ways to appeal content decisions.

There are several pieces of legislation from Democrats to reform Section 230 that are doing the rounds in Congress. Several Republican lawmakers have also been pushing separately to scrap the law entirely.

Related: US-based News Corp strikes deal with Facebook for Australian News on platform

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