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Photo: Eva Hambach/AFP via Getty Images

A Senate Commerce subcommittee has teed up a hearing next week on Silicon Valley's prized liability shield, slated to take place the day after Big Tech CEOs face a grilling from a House panel.

Why it matters: Lawmakers on other congressional panels, including the Senate Judiciary Committee, are already eyeing legislation to chip away at Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Attention from multiple committees raises the odds that such a law could pass before the year's end.

Driving the news: The hearing, set for July 28, will center on the PACT Act from Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), leaders of the Senate Commerce communications, technology, innovation and the internet subcommittee, which will hold the session.

  • The PACT Act would, among other things, update Section 230 by requiring tech platforms to be more transparent about the decisions that go into their moderation practices.
  • Planned witnesses include Jeff Kosseff, a cybersecurity professor at the Naval Academy who wrote a book on Section 230, and Elizabeth Banker, deputy general counsel for tech trade group the Internet Association, the panel said.

Flashback: Only one Section 230 bill has made it through Congress: the anti-sex trafficking package known as FOSTA-SESTA that was signed into law in 2018.

Yes, but: Section 230 is under more scrutiny than ever, with voices on both the right and left calling for changes and the Trump administration raising the threat of repeal when technology companies remove content in a way it doesn't like.

Go deeper

Parties trade election influence accusations at Big Tech hearing

Photo: Michael Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

A Senate hearing Wednesday with Big Tech CEOs became the backdrop for Democrats and Republicans to swap accusations of inappropriate electioneering.

Why it matters: Once staid tech policy debates are quickly becoming a major focal point of American culture and political wars, as both parties fret about the impact of massive social networks being the new public square.

Oct 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Right-wing misinformation could gain steam post-election

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

With less than a week until the 2020 election, researchers have expressed concern that the information ecosystem today is ripe for an unprecedented level of exploitation by bad actors, particularly hyper-partisan media and personalities on the right.

Why it matters: The misinformation-powered right-wing media machine that fueled Donald Trump's 2016 victory grew stronger after that win, and it's set to increase its reach as a result of the upcoming election, whether Trump wins or loses.

Oct 28, 2020 - Technology

Jack Dorsey: Twitter has no influence over elections

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Twitter does not have the ability to influence elections because there are ample additional sources of information, in response to questioning from Republican Sen. Ted Cruz during a hearing Wednesday.

Between the lines: The claim is sure to stir irritation on both the right and left. Conservatives argue Twitter and Facebook's moderation decisions help Democrats, while liberals contend the platforms shy from effectively cracking down on misinformation to appease Republicans.