Facebook, Twitter and Google to testify to Senate committee on extremism online

The hearing will look at "industry efforts to remove violent content" online.

September 12, 2019, 12:30 PM

Leaders from Facebook, Twitter and Google will testify before a Senate committee next week to explore "digital responsibility" when it comes to mass violence and extremism that is spread online.

"In light of recent incidents of mass violence, this hearing will examine the proliferation of extremism online and explore the effectiveness of industry efforts to remove violent content from online platforms," the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation said in a statement.

"Witnesses will discuss how technology companies are working with law enforcement when violent or threatening content is identified and the processes for removal of such content," the committee added.

Facebook's head of global policy management Monika Bickert, Twitter's public policy director Nick Pickles and Google's global director of information policy Derek Slater are scheduled to act as witnesses at the hearing scheduled for Sept. 18.

PHOTO: An illustration showing Twitter.
STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images

The tech giants have long courted controversy as lawmakers and the public grapple with their role in the spread of extremism online, especially in the aftermath of some high-profile of violent incidents that were shared on their platforms.

In March, a gunman livestreamed himself during a shooting spree at a Christchurch mosque on Facebook, killing 49 people during the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand.

In the aftermath, Facebook and Instagram announced they were expanding their bans on white supremacy on their platforms.

The hearing featuring the tech industry representatives facing lawmakers will be livestreamed.