Sep 24, 2020 - Technology

Senate panel plans subpoena vote for Google, Facebook, Twitter CEOs

Illustration of a gavel bearing down on Facebook's "f" logo

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Senate Commerce Committee plans to hold a subpoena vote to compel testimony from the top executives of Google, Facebook and Twitter for a hearing next month, the panel announced Thursday.

Why it matters: The subpoena threat is the latest move by lawmakers to pare back the tech industry's prized liability shield, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

  • Lawmakers want to hold another hearing on the topic with industry executives as legislative proposals work their way through Congress.

Context: On Wednesday, the Department of Justice unveiled suggested language to amend the law with the backing of the White House and Republican attorneys general.

What's happening: On Oct. 1, the Senate Commerce Committee will vote to authorize subpoenas for Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Google's Sundar Pichai and Twitter's Jack Dorsey.

But, but, but: It's doubtful Democrats will be on board, which puts the outcome of the subpoena vote in flux, though Republicans run the Senate Commerce Committee. On Thursday, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), the committee's ranking Democrat, said in a statement that she would not "participate in an attempt to use the committee’s serious subpoena power for a partisan effort 40 days before an election."

Go deeper