Latest in Gear

Image credit:

Google, Reddit execs to speak at House hearing on internet moderation

Facebook, Twitter and others are conspicuously absent, however.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
October 11, 2019
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Horacio Villalobos - Corbis/Getty Images

American politicians have been questioning whether internet companies should be held liable for the content they allow, and two of those companies will soon address those concerns directly. Two House subcommittees are holding a joint online content moderation hearing on October 16th where Google IP policy head Katherine Oyama and Reddit CEO Steve Huffman (above) will speak as witnesses. The hearing will both explore existing practices and help determine if customers are "adequately protected under current laws," including the Communications Decency Act's Section 230 safe harbor protections.

The hearing will also include experts from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Alliance to Counter Crime Online, Boston University and UC Berkeley.

There's no guarantee this will lead to legislation. However, it's entirely possible that existing laws will face a challenge from both sides of the aisle. Democrats like Beto O'Rourke have argued that internet firms should lose immunity if they "knowingly promote" speech that fosters hate and violence. At the same time, Republicans like Josh Hawley have promoted legislation that would strip large sites of immunity if they demonstrate political bias.

Google and Reddit, meanwhile, are likely to fight back. The Internet Association (of which Google and Reddit are members) has argued that conditional safe harbor would force companies to make an "impossible choice" between hosting vile speech and losing the ability to moderate illegal material like extremism. In other words, they'll likely use the hearing to defend Section 230 and otherwise protect the status quo.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Google's Pixel 5 includes 5G and an ultrawide camera for $699

Google's Pixel 5 includes 5G and an ultrawide camera for $699

View
Google TV is back, and it runs on Android TV

Google TV is back, and it runs on Android TV

View
Google’s new Chromecast has a proper OS and remote control

Google’s new Chromecast has a proper OS and remote control

View
The Morning After: Our first impressions of the Xbox Series X

The Morning After: Our first impressions of the Xbox Series X

View
Watch Google’s Pixel 5 event with us here at 2PM ET!

Watch Google’s Pixel 5 event with us here at 2PM ET!

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr