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Rep. Mike Doyle Leads Committee To Take On Social Media Heavyweights Over Misinformation

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KDKA) -- A local congressman led a group of his colleagues in a bipartisan attack on the chief executives of three major social media companies Thursday afternoon, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, the Forest Hills Democrat who chaired the congressional hearing, told KDKA that he expects Congress will take action.

The hearing focused on social media's role in promoting extremism and misinformation, and Doyle wasted no time laying into three heavyweights: Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

Referring to the attack on the Capitol, Doyle asked, "Mr. Zuckerberg, I just want a yes or no answer. Yes or no, do you bear some responsibility for what happened?"

Zuckerberg: Congressman, our responsibility is to make sure that we build effective systems...

Doyle: Okay, the gentleman's position is not to answer the question.

Each ducked the question, but Zuckerberg focused on former President Donald Trump, whose Facebook account was taken down.

"I believe the former president should be responsible for his words, and the people who broke the law should be responsible for their actions," said Zuckerberg.

Pichai said Google removed content from YouTube that promoted Trump's claim about a stolen election.

"After the Dec. 8 safe-harbor deadline for states to certify election results, we removed content from YouTube that alleged widespread fraud that changed the outcome of the election," said Pichai.

Dorsey said it's hard to please everyone when Twitter ban or tag Twitter accounts.

"Many of you will have strong opinions on how effective we are in this work," said Dorsey. "Some of you will say we're doing too much in removing free speech rights. Some of you will say we're not doing enough and end up causing more harm."

Republicans were also critical of these CEOs, saying they censored conservative speech.

"There's a big difference between stopping bullying and violent type of social media post versus actual censorship of political views you disagree with," said Republican Minority Whip Steve Scalise.

"These three CEOs didn't have any supporters in either party," Doyle told KDKA political editor Jon Delano during a break in the hearing. "So I think they understand the gravity of what we're about to do based on what they failed to do."

Doyle says Congress is considering bills to let people sue social media platforms for posting lies and may also create a new federal agency to regulate social media.

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