In brief opening remarks at the hearing, Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey said he supports a three-point plan to preserve Section 230 protections for online platforms, but would also increase transparency and choice for consumers. "There are three solutions we'd like to propose to address the concerns raised, all focused on services that decide to moderate or remove content," Dorsey said. "It could be expansions to Section 230, new legislative frameworks, or a commitment to industry-wide self regulation."
The first proposal would entail requiring tech platforms to publish their content moderation processes, something large tech companies including Twitter already do. "How are cases reported and reviewed? How are decisions made? What tools are used to enforce?" Dorsey asked.
The second would require tech platforms to institute an appeals process that "ensures people can let us know when we don't get it right."
Finally, Dorsey proposed creating a system by which users can choose the algorithms that filter and promote content on tech platforms. This, Dorsey said, is a concept that's been supported by computer scientist Stephen Wolfram. "Much of the content people see today is determined by algorithms, with very little visibility into how they choose what they show," Dorsey said, noting that giving consumers choice would enhance that visibility.
These expansions would be relatively easy for most large tech companies to comply with. But they wouldn't address the core issues that caused Republicans to call the tech CEOs to Congress in the first place — that is, the belief, however unfounded, that tech companies are enforcing their rules unevenly.
Issie Lapowsky (@issielapowsky) is a senior reporter at Protocol, covering the intersection of technology, politics, and national affairs. Previously, she was a senior writer at Wired, where she covered the 2016 election and the Facebook beat in its aftermath. Prior to that, Issie worked as a staff writer for Inc. magazine, writing about small business and entrepreneurship. She has also worked as an on-air contributor for CBS News and taught a graduate-level course at New York University’s Center for Publishing on how tech giants have affected publishing. Email Issie.