Social media firms to testify at U.S. Senate Homeland Security hearing

FILE PHOTO: A combination photo from files of Facebook Google and Twitter logos

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday with Facebook parent Meta Platforms, Alphabet's YouTube, Twitter and short video app TikTok on social media's impact on homeland security.

The panel led by Democratic Senator Gary Peters will also hear from a panel of former executives including from Twitter and Facebook.

The committee said the hearing will be an opportunity "to understand the extent to which social media companies’ business models, through algorithms, targeted advertising, and other operations and practices, contribute to the amplification of harmful content and other threats to homeland security."

The company officials testifying including Meta

Chief Product Officer Chris Cox, YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan, TikTok Chief Operating Officer Vanessa Pappas and Twitter General Manager of Bluebird Jay Sullivan.

This will be the 31st time a Facebook or Meta executive has testified before Congress in the last 5 years.

Last year, Peters pressed social media firms for more information regarding their companies’ policies to monitor and remove extremist and conspiracy content that advocates violence.

Peters has reviewed how social media platforms amplify what he termed "domestic extremist content.

"In attack after attack, there are signs that social media platforms played a role in exposing people to increasingly extreme content, and even amplifying dangerous content to more users," Peters said at a 2021 hearing.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)