McEachin questions Silicon Valley tech CEOs on climate disinformation
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey were confronted by Fourth District Congressman Donald McEachin this week about climate change disinformation on their platforms.
The exchange followed a letter to the tech CEOs led by McEachin and co-signed by more than 30 members of Congress last July requesting detailed plans to combat climate disinformation on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
During his questioning at the hearing, McEachin highlighted the discrepancy between the platforms’ approach to climate disinformation and other crises.
“Climate change is a real and urgent threat, and the spread of disinformation on your platforms is undermining that fact,” McEachin said. “Why do your platforms not treat climate change disinformation with the same immediacy and alarm as other crises, like COVID-19 and election disinformation?”
Following a series of exchanges with the CEOs, McEachin in a statement focused on the potential conflict between the tech companies’ engagement-based revenue models and fulfilling their obligation to self-monitor and remove false content propagated on their sites, expressing his doubt regarding their willingness to do so.
“We have tried the approach of allowing these platforms to self-police and it just has not worked. I believe that when faced with the choice of driving user engagement and combating disinformation, we cannot always trust Big Tech companies to make the right call. Congress must pursue legislation to remove the temptation for these companies to amplify this behavior,” McEachin said.