This doesn’t seem anywhere close to being over.
Last summer, some of America’s biggest tech CEOs faced off against Congress, which spent hours grilling the group of moguls over anti-trust allegations and accusations of running a monopoly.
Well, it appears that was just the tip of the iceberg.
Last week, citing further political division and insurrection culminating with the breach of the U.S. Capitol, CEOs of Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL), Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR) were in Congress late last week for yet another round of tongue lashing.
During the six-hour virtual hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, lawmakers refused to hold back any punches, painting the social-media companies as venues where insurrectionists made their plans, for such actions as the Capitol storming.
Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J was quick to pass blame, noting that in the past many of these companies have just “shrugged off billion-dollar fines.”
“The attack started and was nourished on your platforms.”
“Your business model itself has become the problem.”
Referencing two pieces of legislation proposed to combat the alleged misconduct and misuse of social media platforms, lawmakers also addressed the “Protecting Americans from Dangerous Algorithms Act, ” which gives companies immunity from liability for comments or actions made on their platforms, along with the “Online Consumer Protection Act” to hold tech companies more accountable and weaken their liability shield.
A lot was said about the growing dangers of social media, but some of the most interesting comparisons made were to Big Tobacco, which is now viewed as having created addictive products in cigarettes, through nicotine.
Rep. Doris Matsui, D-California, point-blank asked each executive if they agreed that they made money from an addictive habit of its users on social media, further saying:
“Big Tech is handing our children a lit cigarette and they become hooked for life.”
Everyone has their own opinions on the power of social media and where the line is drawn between free speech and inciting violence. Regardless of what side you sit on, it’s becoming inherently clear Congress is putting the full-court press on Big Tech, with no plans to back down.