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Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg. Source: Zach Gibson/Getty Images.
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  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has laid out measures to reform a key internet law, arguing that platforms should have immunity from liability
  • Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act gives companies like Facebook immunity from liability over content posted by users
  • Thursday’s hearing is designed to address concerns about the spread of misinformation during the coronavirus pandemic and last year’s presidential election
  • The chief executives of Google and Twitter will also testify at the hearing

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has laid out measures to reform a key internet law, arguing that platforms should have immunity from liability if they follow best practices for removing damaging material.

In a testimony prepared for a joint hearing before two House Energy and Commerce subcommittees on Thursday, Zuckerberg acknowledged calls from lawmakers to change Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives companies like Facebook immunity from liability over content posted by users.

Titled “Disinformation Nation: Social media’s role in promoting extremism and misinformation”, the hearing is designed to address concerns that Democrats have about the spread of misinformation during the coronavirus pandemic and last year’s presidential election.

The chief executives of Google and Twitter will also testify at the hearing.

According to his pre-hearing testimony, Google’s Sundar Pichai will make suggestions to reform the law but, unlike Zuckerberg, is not expected to advocate for a set of best practices.

Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, meanwhile, will lay out the steps his platform has taken to fight misinformation.

“Platforms should not be held liable if a particular piece of content evades its detection — that would be impractical for platforms with billions of posts per day,” Zuckerberg wrote.

Pichai struck a similar note, saying that “without Section 230, platforms would either over-filter content or not be able to filter content at all.”

Pichai has instead proposed alternative solutions, like developing content policies that are clear and accessible, notifying people when their content is removed and giving them ways to appeal content decisions.

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