April 27, 2021

Durbin Delivers Opening Statement at Privacy, Technology, and the Law Subcommittee Hearing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today delivered an opening statement during the “Algorithms and Amplification: How Social Media Platforms’ Design Choices Shape Our Discourse and Our Minds” Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law hearing.  During his opening statement, Durbin discussed protecting privacy and how social media platforms use highly targeted algorithms to captivate and persuade us in every aspect of our lives.  Durbin also said it’s time for social media companies to finally take real action to address the abuse and misuse of their platforms, and the role that algorithms play in amplifying hate and misinformation.

Key quotes: 

“This country stands at a crossroads as we grapple with the role of technology and social media in our lives and culture.”

“The right to privacy, especially for children, is one of the persistent concerns I share with members of the committee. Everyday, internet companies collect reams of personal data on Americans, including kids. But we cannot expect children to fully understand the consequences of their internet use and this collection process. Kids deserve, I believe, a chance to request a clean slate once they are old enough to appreciate the nature of internet data collection.”

“Algorithms influence what we read, watch, and buy; and how we engage.  And they don’t just affect our personal lives—they affect us on a global basis. For example, an independent civil rights audit last year found that Facebook is not sufficiently attuned to how its algorithms, ‘fuel extreme and polarizing content,’ and can ‘driv[e] people toward self-reinforcing echo chambers of extremism.’”

“After January 6th, the consequences of rampant hate and misinformation on social media platforms have never been clearer. We need social media companies to finally take real action to address the abuse and misuse of their platforms, and the role that algorithms play in amplifying."

Video of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s opening statement is available here for TV Stations. 

-30-