House Consumer Protection Subcommittee Hearing On Deep Fakes and Online Manipulation

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The House Consumer Protection Subcommittee held a hearing "Americans at Risk: Manipulation and Deception in the Digital Age" to look at deep fakes and online manipulation. Subcommittee Chairman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) used the informational hearing to hammer Big Tech and Facebook in particular. She said that Big Tech had failed to respond to the "grave threat" of deep fakes, dark patterns, bots, and other technologies that are hurting the public in direct and indirect ways. Chairman Schakowsky said that for too long, Big Tech has argued that their e-commerce and digital platforms deserve special treatment and a light regulatory touch, but she said the subcommittee is finding that consumers can be harmed as easily online as in the physical world, and in some cases the online dangers are greater.  She said the subcommittee must make it clear that protections that apply in the physical world apply in the virtual world. 

Subcommittee Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) argued that more regulation was not the answer and that manipulating of the public was nothing new. She cited the "yellow journalism" of the newspapers of William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pullitzer of over 100 years ago. Echoing the Trump Administration's new AI regulatory guidelines, Ranking Member Rodgers said that US tech companies must continue to be free to innovate in AI and facial recognition and other technologies that US values of freedom and independence, not those of authoritarian regimes, undergird the technology. 

House Takes Deep Dive into Online Fakes Lawmakers voice skepticism over Facebook's deepfake ban (The Hill)