Facebook, Google to face Congress over spread of white nationalism online

The tech giants will testify before the House Judiciary Committee.

Richard Nieva Former senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Richard Nieva

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler.


Facebook and Google are once again headed to Capitol Hill, this time for a grilling from the House Judiciary Committee over the spread of white nationalism on their platforms.

The committee on Wednesday said the hearing, scheduled for April 9 and called "Hate Crimes and the Rise of White Nationalism," is intended to "foster ideas about what social media companies can do to stem white nationalist propaganda and hate speech online."

Facebook will send Neil Potts, who oversees the company's content policy team, the social network said. Google will send Alexandria Walden, a counsel for free expression and human rights, according to The Washington Post, which earlier reported the news.

Google didn't respond to a request for comment.

The hearing was prompted by the tragedy in Christchurch, New Zealand, last month, in which a terrorist opened fire in two mosques. The shooting claimed 50 lives and was livestreamed on Facebook. Copies of the video were also posted tens of thousands of times on YouTube, which Google owns. The spread of the video raised questions about the platforms' inabilities to take down hateful content that pops up on their services.

Facebook said last week that it's banning white nationalist and white separatist content from its platform following backlash from civil rights groups and black history scholars. Both Facebook and Google have said they've hired thousands of content moderators and have developed artificial intelligence tools to police objectionable content.