Democrats in Congress are vowing to crack down on social media giants with “a vengeance” for their role in Wednesday’s riot in the nation’s capital.
Leading Dems, who just gained control of the Senate for the first time since 2010, said Wednesday’s unprecedented scare underscores just how little Silicon Valley has done to curb online extremism, Politico reported.
“This is going to come back and bite ‘em because Congress, in a bipartisan way, is going to come back with a vengeance,” Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told the outlet.
Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Virginia) added, “It’s created a greater urgency and a greater willingness, hopefully on both sides of the aisle, to dig in and do the hard work that’s going to take to address this.”
“I think it’s going to be a top priority for us in 117th to come up with some sort of plan to address this kind of disinformation,” she said.
Multiple Democrats have already denounced big tech companies like Facebook and YouTube, but also smaller ones like Gab and Parler, over the chaos on Capitol grounds that left five people dead.
“Congress was attacked yesterday by a mob that was radicalized in an echo chamber that Facebook and other big platforms created,” New Jersey Rep. Tom Malinowski said.
Congress will likely look to overhaul Section 230, the much-debated law that protects big tech from being held liable for the content its users post.
“Yesterday’s events will renew and focus the need for Congress to reform Big Tech’s privileges and obligations,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Thursday. “This begins with reforming Section 230, preventing infringements on fundamental rights, stopping the destructive use of Americans’ private data, and other clear harms.”
Dems’ renewed scrutiny comes as Facebook and Twitter suspended President Trump’s accounts for posting about Wednesday’s riots. His access to Twitter was restored Thursday after he deleted three of the offending tweets, while he’s been booted off Facebook “indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks,” according to its CEO Mark Zuckerberg.