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The top lawyers for Facebook, Twitter and Google are sworn in for a hearing in November. Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images

Big Tech returns to Capitol Hill Wednesday to answer questions from the Senate's influential Commerce Committee about how it handles terrorist content, following hearings last year on Russian election interference.

"The companies that our witnesses represent have a very difficult task: preserving the environment of openness upon on which their platforms have thrived, while seeking to responsibly manage and thwart the actions of those who would use their services for evil," Chairman John Thune plans to say in his opening statement. "We are here today to explore how they are doing that, what works, and what could be improved."

Who's going:

  • Facebook's Monika Bickert
  • YouTube's Juniper Downs
  • Twitter's Carlos Monje
  • Former FBI agent Clint Watts

What to watch: All three companies declined to comment. They'll likely try to stick to the talking points they've honed in the debate over extremist content online here and abroad. Still, lawmakers are sure to take advantage of being able to ask questions of employees who have expert-level knowledge of their respective online platforms.

Go deeper

Trump threatens to veto Defense spending bill over social media shield

Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday a threat to veto a must-pass end-of-year $740 billion bill defense-spending authorization bill unless Congress repeals a federal law that protects social media sites from legal liability.

Why it matters: Trump's attempt to get Congress to end the tech industry protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the latest escalation in his war on tech giants over what he and some other Republicans perceive as bias against conservatives.

The walls close in on Trump

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

With Bill Barr's "Et tu, Brute!" interview with AP, President Trump is watching the walls close in on his claims of fraud, hoaxes and conspiracies.

Why it matters: Trump and his legal team continue to claim election fraud. But the Republican governors of Arizona and Georgia have certified their elections, a loyalist like Barr has weighed in, and lower-ranking officials have taken potshots.

Congress plots COVID pandemic-era office upgrades

oving crates outside Rep. Elise Stefanik's old office Tuesday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The House plans to renovate members' suites even though staff are worried about an influx of contractors and D.C. is tightening restrictions on large gatherings, some staffers told Axios.

Why it matters: The Capitol has been closed to public tours since March. Work over the holiday season comes as U.S. coronavirus cases spike, Americans beg for more pandemic assistance and food lines grow.