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Tech Hearing: Social Media CEOs Come Under Senate Scrutiny

Tech Hearing: Social Media CEOs Come Under Senate Scrutiny

WASHINGTON—Chief executives of the largest social media companies will testify Wednesday before the Senate Commerce Committee in a hearing examining their platforms’ role in shaping political discourse.

Less than a week before Election Day, members of the Republican-led panel are expected to question Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter Inc. CEO Jack Dorsey, and Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and YouTube owner Alphabet Inc., about their treatment of politically charged content, from advertising to news to candidates’ posts.

The high-profile stage reflects bipartisan concern about the companies’ increasingly central role in public debate and the distribution of news, although Republicans and Democrats are coming at the issue from different perspectives.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R., Miss.), the panel’s chairman, has accused the companies of censoring conservative views—a charge the executives dispute. The hearing will focus on what he calls the “unintended consequences” of Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, a law that gives online companies broad immunity from legal liability for user-generated content and wide latitude to control what does or doesn’t appear on their platforms.

In testimony submitted to the Senate panel and viewed by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Zuckerberg said he supported changing Section 230, noting that “the debate about Section 230 shows that people of all political persuasions are unhappy with the status quo.”

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