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Photo: Michael Reynolds/Pool via Getty Images

At a Senate hearing Tuesday morning, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter's Jack Dorsey will stress their companies' work to limit online misinformation and will endorse updating tech's prized liability shield as long as Congress doesn't blow it up.

Why it matters: Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects online platforms from lawsuits over moderation calls and user-posted content, and many policymakers view amending or even eliminating the law as their best lever to change how companies govern online speech.

Driving the news: The two chief executives will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee via video conference for a hearing entitled "Breaking the News: Censorship, Suppression, and the 2020 Election."

  • Democrats have slammed the platforms for letting President Trump spread misinformation about voting processes and results before and after Election Day.
  • Republicans have cried censorship over labels that Facebook and Twitter have added to posts such as Trump's repeated false claims that he won the 2020 election.

Dorsey, per advance testimony shared by Twitter, will:

  • deny that Twitter's employees and content moderation choices are biased against conservatives;
  • run down actions Twitter has taken against misinformation before and since the election, noting that this work remains ongoing; and
  • encourage lawmakers to work with industry and civil society groups to explore modifying Section 230 or writing additional legislation to address concerns, but not eliminate, erode, or add speech-chilling moderation mandates to the law.

Zuckerberg will similarly detail the actions Facebook has taken on misinformation, a company spokesperson said, as well as reiterate the company's support for updating Section 230, such as to add language requiring tech firms to be more transparent about moderation practices or work together to combat problematic material.

  • He'll also call for new federal regulations on privacy, elections and data portability.

Reality check: Whatever Dorsey and Zuckerberg say to kick things off, the hearing is bound to tumble quickly into political theater — likely over litigating claims of censorship in individual instances of certain tweets that contain voting misinformation being labeled or hidden from view.

Between the lines: Close Trump ally Lindsey Graham will preside over the hearing as Judiciary chair.

  • Other Judiciary Republicans include some of the most vocal proponents of the bias-against-conservatives charge, including Sens. Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz and Marsha Blackburn.
  • Watch for confrontations that will play well with the GOP base in clips from the hearing that members will share online afterward.

Go deeper

App rush: Talent over trash

Data: Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Amid the sea of pollution on social media, another class of apps is soaring in popularity: The creators are paid, putting a premium on talent instead of just noise.

The big picture: Creator-economy platforms like Patreon, Substack and OnlyFans are built around content makers who are paid. It's a contrast to platforms like Facebook that are mostly powered by everyday users’ unpaid posts and interactions.

Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."