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Congress Escalates Pressure on Tech Giants to Censor More, Threatening the First Amendment

Congress Escalates Pressure on Tech Giants to Censor More, Threatening the First Amendment

In their zeal for control over online speech, House Democrats are getting closer and closer to the constitutional line, if they have not already crossed it.

CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey (R) and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (L) are sworn in to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on September 5, 2018. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

For the third time in less than five months, the U.S. Congress has summoned the CEOs of social media companies to appear before them, with the explicit intent to pressure and coerce them to censor more content from their platforms. On March 25, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will interrogate Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Facebooks’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai at a hearing which the Committee announced will focus “on misinformation and disinformation plaguing online platforms.”

The Committee’s Chair, Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and the two Chairs of the Subcommittees holding the hearings, Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), said in a joint statement that the impetus was “falsehoods about the COVID-19 vaccine” and “debunked claims of election fraud.” They argued that “these online platforms have allowed misinformation to spread, intensifying national crises with real-life, grim consequences for public health and safety,” adding: “This hearing will continue the Committee’s work of holding online platforms accountable for the growing rise of misinformation and disinformation.”

House Democrats have made no secret of their ultimate goal with this hearing: to exert control over the content on these online platforms…

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