House Democrats ask Biden to prioritize social media accountability at G-7 summit

Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.) led several House Democrats in a letter urging President Biden to use the upcoming Group of Seven (G-7) leaders’ summit to prioritize international collaboration on social media accountability to address online disinformation, extremism, hate and harassment. 

In the letter sent to Biden on Tuesday, the Democrats said the U.S. should “ensure it has a seat at the table” as other countries continue to roll out new requirements for tech platforms.

“If the United States does not join these social media transparency efforts on an international level, it risks the formation and enforcement of new rules, standards, and best practices without American input,” they wrote.

Reps. Sean Casten (D-Ill.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) also signed the letter. 

Although Congress is discussing a “range of policy proposals” on social media accountability, the lawmakers said that “given the international nature” of most platforms, it is beneficial to structure requirements in a “modular way,” with consistent standards and frameworks that allow countries to have additional requirements or approaches to enforcement. 

The Democrats underscored the importance of the issue by highlighting reports about Chinese government-linked accounts spreading propaganda about Ukraine as well as the ongoing investigation into the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, that in part stemmed from online disinformation about the 2020 presidential election. 

“The dangers of an unhealthy information environment are well established and cannot be overstated,” they wrote. 

The G-7 summit kicks off on Sunday. It will take place at Schloss Elmau in southern Germany. 

Other members of the group include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom.

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