Google and Facebook are headed to Washington on Tuesday for a Congressional hearing on white nationalism.
Google and Facebook are back at Capitol Hill on Tuesday. While both companies are no stranger to Congressional hearings at this point, this time the tech giants are talking about the growing threat of white nationalism on its platforms in the wake of the mosque shooting in New Zealand.
Facebook’s public policy director Neil Potts and Google’s public policy and government relations counsel Alexandria Walden will speak before the Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee for a hearing on hate crimes and the rise of white nationalism.
Online radicalization, specifically among white nationalists, is not exactly a new issue. However, since the New Zealand mosque shooting, which left 50 people dead, the rising concerns over the spread of white nationalism on the internet has been thrust to the forefront of the conversation.
In response to public outcry following the terror attack, Facebook did take some meaningful action. The social networking company made important changes to its highly criticized policies involving hate speech on the site and banned white nationalism from its platform. The company’s policies once viewed white supremacy, which was already banned from the platform, distinctly from white nationalism, which was not banned at the time.
Facebook also announced that it had banned more than one million video uploads of the New Zealand shooter’s livestreamed attack from its platform.
YouTube hasn’t committed to banning white nationalist videos from its site, but it has restricted certain white nationalists’ content.
Along with Google and Facebook’s representatives, witnesses from civil rights groups such as the Anti-Defamation League are scheduled to attend the hearing.
One particularly amusing name listed as a witness is far right personality, Candace Owens. Owens, representing the conservative college organization Turning Point USA, is probably most well known for Kanye West tweeting out his support of her. She was most recently in the news for seemingly defending Hitler in a speech. With numerous right wing activists claiming conservative bias from tech companies, Owens take on the internet’s rising white nationalist problem should certainly be an interesting one.