Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, X CEO Linda Yaccarino and other tech industry leaders faced a grilling from lawmakers today as they appeared for a landmark Senate hearing on the online exploitation of children. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) blamed the tech platforms at the outset for allowing the exploitation to proliferate, while dismissing the latest efforts the companies have taken to boost safety. “They are responsible for many of the dangers our children face online,” Durbin said, calling it a “crisis in America.”
There is movement in the Senate on a bill that would allow online news content providers — including broadcast and print news websites — to bargain collectively for payment from Big Tech platforms. And that has prompted computer companies to continue to fight back, labeling the potential bargainers as cartels out to push unwanted speech with the aid of an interventionist government. The Senate Judiciary Committee today (June 15) will mark up, and potentially pass out of committee, the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA). That vote drew a letter of protest from the Computer & Communications Industry Association.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has favorably reported the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (S. 673) to the Senate for a vote, potentially paving the way for broadcasters, newspapers and other journalism creators to share in the revenue their original news content generates for Big Tech platforms. That came at a business session Thursday.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a pair of bills Thursday that would dramatically expand video coverage of federal court trials and other proceedings while putting Supreme Court arguments on camera for the first time. Both bills have bipartisan support, including the endorsement of the panel’s chair, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), and the longstanding backing of the committee’s ranking Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa.
Usually, when social media executives are brought to testify in front of Congress, the hearings are centered on specific policies and types of content, misinfo and foreign interference, antitrust issues, and privacy concerns. What doesn’t quite get as much attention are the engines that drive these platforms: their algorithms. That’s what makes Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary hearing with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube different. The hearing is entirely focused on social media algorithms.
The Senate Judiciary Committee took a hard look at digital advertising Tuesday (May 21), both from a standpoint of privacy and whether edge providers who are supported by the use of data for ads are too big to be trusted not to abuse that power and not to allow foreign entities to abuse it, either.
Last week, a Senate panel voted to approve a compromise that defined a journalist, clearing the way for the proposed media shield law to be voted on by the full Senate. But journalists around the country had plenty to say about a law that would exclude some bloggers.