McEachin Questions Silicon Valley Tech CEOs on Climate Disinformation as E&C Addresses Extremism and Misinformation Plaguing Online Platforms
WASHINGTON — Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today, during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing to address the role of social media in promoting extremism and misinformation, raised serious concerns with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey about climate change disinformation on their platforms.
The exchange comes after 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, ” noted McEachin in part. “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 at the hearing, 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,” concluded McEachin.
Full transcript of McEachin’s remarks and exchanges during the hearing can be found HERE.
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For more information, please contact:
Ralph M. Jones, Jr., Communications Director
U.S. Representative A. Donald McEachin (VA-04)