- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was a few minutes late to Wednesday’s virtual Senate hearing focused on Section 230.
- After Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey gave their opening statements, Sen. Roger Wicker announced that Zuckerberg was experiencing difficulty connecting to the hearing and needed more time to do so.
- “This is a most interesting development but we’re going to accommodate the request,” Wicker said. Zuckerberg took less than five minutes to appear.
- The hearing was scheduled to discuss the protections that Section 230, an internet law that protects tech firms from being held liable for content posted on their platforms, provides tech platforms.
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had trouble connecting to a virtual Senate hearing Wednesday, which was scheduled to discuss Section 230 protections provided to tech companies.
After Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey gave their opening statements, Chairman Roger Wicker announced that Zuckerberg was having trouble tuning in.
“We are told by Facebook staff that he is alone and attempting to connect with this hearing, and they are requesting a 5-minute recess,” Wicker said. “This is a most interesting development but we’re going to accommodate the request.”
The recess took less than five minutes, however, and Zuckerberg was able to appear with full audio and video functionality.
The technical difficulty isn’t the first to occur during the pandemic as even the nation’s top lawmakers and the most prominent tech CEOs have adapted to connecting remotely. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had to be told to unmute his microphone as he started to answer a question during a July 29 Congressional antitrust hearing. “Mr. Bezos, I believe you’re on mute,” one lawmaker could be heard saying.
Wednesday’s hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee was scheduled in order to open a dialogue around Section 230, an internet law that prevents tech firms from being held liable for content as publishers are, and the protections that the law provides them.
Democrats and Republicans have largely agreed that Section 230 needs to be revised, but President Donald Trump has amplified the fight to do so after Twitter and Facebook began fact-checking his posts in May. And now multiple branches of the US government are zeroing in on changing the law, as Business Insider’s Aaron Holmes explains.
Dorsey and Zuckerberg stressed that stripping back Section 230 could harm free expression and “collapse how we communicate on the Internet,” Dorsey said specifically.
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