Hillicon Valley – Presented by Ericsson – Senators Prepare for Facebook Hearing



Today it’s Wednesday. Welcome to Hillicon Valley, detailing everything you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

Facebook’s head of global safety will face members of the Senate consumer protection subcommittee on Thursday in the first of a series of hearings devoted to child safety. As criticism of the tech giant intensifies following recent explosive reports, the panel will meet again next week to hear testimony from a Facebook whistleblower.

Meanwhile, YouTube said it would ban major accounts identified as spreading vaccine misinformation after months of pressure from advocates.

Follow The Hill journalist Maggie Miller (@ magmill95) and the technical team, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@millsrodrigo) and Rebecca Klar (@rebeccaklar_), for more coverage.

Let’s go.

For kids

Senators are set to discuss the platform’s impact on children on Facebook with two hearings scheduled for Thursday.

Concerns about the impact of social media on children’s health and privacy have been a rare unifying issue in Washington, although the collective fury has not resulted in swift legislative action on the platform’s regulatory proposals.

In the program : Questions about the safety of children online have been raised in previous Congressional hearings with top tech executives, but upcoming Senate of Commerce consumer protection subcommittee hearings will shed light on the safety of consumers. youth. The panel will question Facebook’s global security chief Antigone Davis at a hearing Thursday, and will later hear from a Facebook whistleblower on Tuesday.

“The testimony of this whistleblower will be essential to understand what Facebook knew about the toxic effects of its platforms on young users, when they knew it and what they did about it,” said subcommittee chair Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) In a statement. “I look forward to a discussion of the wide range of startling claims that have recently come to light about the worrying experiences young people are having on these apps.”

Worries : Congressional rage against Facebook has escalated in recent days after a series of Wall Street Journal articles detailed the company’s internal research into Instagram’s negative impact on adolescent mental health, fueled by another article published Tuesday on Facebook’s pressure to woo young users.

The previous report sparked waves of bipartisan backlash, prompting Instagram, which is owned by Instagram, to suspend its controversial plan to launch an Instagram platform for children. The popular photo-sharing app bans users under the age of 13, although critics and the company agree that users often lie about their age to get along like children.

Despite Instagram’s hiatus on the plan, concerns are likely to be raised in future hearings. After the break was announced, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said the company had not gone far enough.

Read more here.


Youtube represses… now?

YouTube announced Wednesday that it will ban several major accounts that spread false information about vaccines, a move that is part of an expansion of its medical disinformation policies.

Under the new rules, the Google-owned site will remove all videos claiming that approved vaccines are dangerous or cause chronic health side effects.

This means that videos implying that vaccines cause autism, cancer or infertility will now be deleted.

Videos on immunization policies, such as those opposing mandates, do not violate the new guidelines.

As part of the policy launch, several high-level accounts are deleted.

The accounts of Robert F. Kennedy’s Children’s Health Advocacy Fund, alternative medicine influencer Joseph Mercola, and vaccine critic and physician Sherri Tenpenny will all be deleted.

These people have been identified by experts as partly responsible for vaccine skepticism that has slowed efforts to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19.

Read more.


The House on Wednesday passed bipartisan legislation aimed at strengthening the federal cybersecurity workforce, an issue that has garnered support after a year of massive information security incidents.

The Federal Rotational Cyber ​​Workforce Program Act, sponsored by Representatives Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) And Nancy Mace (RS.C.), would establish a program for cybersecurity professionals to go through multiple federal agencies and improve their expertise.

The bill would also encourage heads of federal agencies to identify cybersecurity positions that can be rotated within government and give the Office of Personnel Management jurisdiction over the federal cybersecurity workforce rotation program.

Read more here.


House Oversight and Reform Committee leaders on Wednesday asked the FBI for a briefing on its decision to withhold for three weeks the decryption key needed by companies affected by the ransomware attack on computer company Kaseya to recover.

The request came a week after the Washington Post first reported that the FBI, in consultation with other agencies, chose to keep the decryption key as part of a planned effort to disrupt REvil, the Russian-based cybercriminal group behind the attack on Kaseya. .

The attack is estimated to have affected between 800 and 1,500 groups beginning before the July 4 holiday.

“Although the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) obtained a digital decryption key that could have unlocked the affected systems, it withheld this tool for nearly three weeks as it worked to disrupt the attack. which could cost ransomware victims, including schools and hospitals, millions of dollars, ”wrote committee chair Carolyn Maloney (DN.Y.) and high-ranking representative James Comer (R-Ky. ) in a letter sent Wednesday to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Read more here.



The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) will use its “rumor control” website to tackle misinformation and disinformation in future elections, despite the site’s role in former President Trump’s ouster of several of the senior agency officials in 2020.

CISA Director Jen Easterly made the announcement on Wednesday, noting her concern over misleading election statements and saying the site is one of the anti-misinformation and disinformation efforts the agency is pursuing ahead of the election. midterm next year.

“So rumor control, when I looked at this as a private citizen, I saw what CISA was doing, which really makes sure the American people have the facts they need,” Easterly said. during a speech at the Cyber ​​Summit of the Aspen Institute. . “I worry a lot about misinformation and misinformation as a citizen, but also as a mom.”

Read more here.


Russia is threatening “retaliatory measures” against YouTube after the company removed German-language channels from its state media RT for allegedly containing disinformation about COVID-19.

Russia said the company was engaged in an “unprecedented information assault” and was breaking Russian law, Reuters reported.

“There should definitely be zero tolerance for this kind of breaking the law,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

The country’s foreign ministry is working on “a proposal to develop and take retaliatory measures against the YouTube hosting service and German media,” according to the press service.

Read more here.


An editorial to chew on: Keep an eye on the ball with US-EU trade and technology cooperation

Lighter click: It’s the biggest week of the year!

Notable links on the web:

Inside Lina khanLina KhanHillicon Valley – Brought to you by Xerox – Democrats Press FTC to Resolve Data Privacy ‘Crisis’ Democrats Call on FTC to Resolve Data Privacy ‘Crisis’ Overnight Hillicon Valley – Review impact of Instagram on teens MOREthe war on monopolies (Politico / Leah Nylen)

Drones can help replant forests – if enough seeds take root (Wired / Khari Johnson)

Amazon’s latest products expand surveillance inside the home (Washington Post / Heather Kelly, Chris Velazco, Jay Greene and Tatum Hunter)

One more thing: misinformation about ivermectin leads to chaos

An avalanche of misinformation about the ability of the antiparasitic drug ivermectin to treat COVID-19 has caused a range of national problems, ranging from increased calls to poisoning centers to a shortage of the drug itself.

Patients are in desperate need of the treatment that is most commonly used for livestock and have taken their ivermectin disputes with hospitals to court.

Misinformation has flooded the internet, where dozens of ivermectin-centric Facebook groups remain active despite insufficient evidence that the drug works in treating people with COVID-19.

Read more here.

That’s all for today, thanks for reading. Discover The Hill’s Technology and cybersecurity pages for breaking news and coverage. See you on Thursday.


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