Sen. Warner: GOP Trying to Cow Tech Platforms

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), co-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee that investigated Russian election meddling, took issue with the Commerce Committee's hearing with Big Tech CEOs Wednesday (Oct. 28).

He joined a growing chorus of Democrats on that Commerce Committee who, during that hearing, branded it a sham and an attempt by Republicans to aid the President's re-election disinformation efforts.

Warner, himself a former tech exec, called the hearing "a cudgel to cow the platforms into continued inaction regarding efforts to manipulate their services six days ahead of the election.”

Warner accused his Republican colleagues of joining the Trump Administration in a "cynical and concerted effort to bully platforms into allowing dark money groups, right-wing militias and even the President himself to continue to exploit social media platforms to sow disinformation, engage in targeted harassment, and suppress voter participation.

"We can and should have a conversation about Section 230 – and the ways in which it has enabled platforms to turn a blind eye as their platforms are used to facilitate discrimination and civil rights violations, enable domestic terrorist groups to organize violence in plain sight, assist in stalking and networked harassment campaigns, and enable online frauds targeted at vulnerable users," he said, but signaled Wednesday's hearing was not that conversation.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.