Another week, another big tech hearing in Congress. With a flurry of antitrust reform bills on the way, Democratic lawmakers are again bringing in some of the world’s most powerful tech companies for questioning.
In the next hearing, scheduled for Tuesday, April 27 at 10 AM ET, the Senate Judiciary’s subcommittee on privacy and technology will zero in on concerns about algorithmic amplification. Specifically, the hearing will explore how algorithms amplify dangerous content and shape user behavior on social platforms.
The subcommittee’s chair Sen. Chris Coons previously indicated that he would bring in tech CEOs, but Tuesday’s hearing will instead feature testimony from policy leads at Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
The hearing might prove a unique opportunity to hold YouTube’s feet to the fire. In spite of being one of the biggest social networks in the world — one without much transparency about its regular failures to control extremism and misinformation — YouTube seldom winds up under the microscope with Congress. The company will be represented by Alexandra Veitch, YouTube’s regional director of public policy.
In past, big tech hearings, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has generally appeared on behalf of YouTube’s parent company while YouTube’s chief executive Susan Wojcicki inexplicably escapes scrutiny. Google is a massive entity and concerns specific to YouTube and its policies generally get lost in the mix, with lawmakers usually going after Pichai for concerns around Google’s search and ads businesses.