Feb 18, 2021 - Technology

Congress plans barrage of tech hearings

The Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, testified before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday October 23, 2019 Washington, D.C. (Photo by Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying before the House Financial Services Committee on Oct. 23, 2019. Photo: Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Congress on Thursday announced two tech-related hearings — one featuring major tech CEOs and another meant to kick off new antitrust legislation.

What's happening: On March 25, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hear from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Google CEO Sundar Pichai during a hearing about misinformation on online platforms.

  • On Feb. 25, the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee will kick off the first in a series of hearings meant to explore competition for the digital economy.

The big picture: After a busy start of the new Congress with a deadly riot and impeachment proceedings, Congress is setting its sights back to reeling in Big Tech.

  • Congress has been looking to legislate tech policy for years now, but calls for action on misinformation intensified after the deadly Capitol riot. At the same time, Big Tech companies are under multiple antitrust investigations in the U.S. and abroad, and the Senate has already started considering new tech antitrust bills.

What they're saying: "Whether it be falsehoods about the COVID-19 vaccine or debunked claims of election fraud, these online platforms have allowed misinformation to spread, intensifying national crises with real-life, grim consequences for public health and safety,” Democratic leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said in a release.

  • The Judiciary Committee hearing kicks off a major legislative series and the start of the committee preparing to roll out new antitrust bills, a committee aide said.
  • Witnesses will include former FTC lawyers, advocates, economists and at least one executive from an affected third party who claims to have been negatively impacted by a Big Tech company.
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