WASHINGTON – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter boss Jack Dorsey will appear before members of the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday morning to defend their companies' actions to moderate the speech. It's the second time the two C.E.O.s testify in two months, but this will likely have more fireworks than their last appearance as their companies played a central role in the recent election.
You will likely have a lot of questions about how your social networks handled voice-related posts, videos, and photos. Both companies stepped up their flagging of misinformation in elections, including contributions from President Trump, while false and misleading content increased.
Here are some other things you should know:
When and where will it take place?
The hearing begins at 10 a.m. east. Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Dorsey will appear via video conference. You will receive questions from the committee's 22 members, some of whom are in the committee meeting room in the Capitol and some of whom will also appear via videoconference.
What is being discussed?
Committee chairman Lindsey Graham of South Carolina convened the hearing in October after Twitter and Facebook flagged the reach of a New York Post article about Hunter Biden, son of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., based on information or restricted that was leaked and misleading.
Those executives who have appeared before the Congress on data protection, disinformation in the 2016 election, and content moderation several times over the past few years, are likely to receive numerous repeated questions about how their companies step up their efforts to protect consumers and moderate content have improved without suppressing the language. But they will also face new questions, including whether an ongoing ban on political advertising could jeopardize Senate drains in Georgia and why hateful content is still allowed on their websites.
President Trump and his Republican allies have resisted the actions of Twitter and Facebook to repeatedly flag and hide the president's posts for violating guidelines against the spread of false and misleading information about the election. Twitter was particularly active in flagging Mr Trump's tweets on the day of the election and days after. Members such as Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri are expected to beat up Mr. Dorsey and Mr. Zuckerberg for their conservative censorship, allegations that are unfounded.
Democrats are expected to direct their anger more on Facebook for acting only during the election to flag Mr. Trump's misinformation about electoral fraud and his false claims to victory. Democrats say Facebook and Twitter have been too sloppy about disinformation and hate speech that people like Steve Bannon, who recently beheaded Dr. Anthony Fauci said he could keep his Facebook account. They will also point to an increase in anti-Muslim content on Facebook and an increase in hate content on social media.
What else could we learn?
The hearing could provide new insights into Washington's post-election temperature and provide clues to a legislative agenda over the next year that is expected to include new restrictions on the power of tech companies. Republicans and Democrats have called for reforms to the 1996 act, entitled Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives online platforms legal immunity from third party content.
Other topics could be competition and data protection. Several members of the committee expressed concern about the concentration of power among tech giants like Facebook, Google and Amazon, and some called for some reforms to antitrust laws. For example, Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat of Minnesota, has proposed changes to update competition laws and better address the tech sector.