Hearing on the Capitol Hill hate crime and white nationalism becomes a bit too real.
A congressional hearing on online hate turned into a vivid demonstration of the problem. The proceedings were bombarded with racist and anti-Semitic comments from internet users, the AP writes.
YouTube has disabled the live chat section of the streaming video about 30 minutes in the hearing due to what it called "hateful comments." "
The incident came as executives from Google and Facebook appeared before the House Judiciary Committee to answer questions about the role of companies in the spread of hate crimes and the rise of white nationalism in the US.
They were joined by leaders of such human rights organizations as the Anti-Defamation League and the Equal Justice Society, along with conservative commentator Candace Owens.
Neil Potts, the Facebook director of public policy, and Alexandria Walden, counsel for free expression and human rights at Google, defended policies at the two companies that prohibit material that incites violence or hate. Google owns YouTube.
"There is no place for terrorism or hate on Facebook," Potts testified. "We remove any content that incites violence."
The hearing breaks down into partisan disagreement among lawmakers and some of the witnesses, with Republican members of the Congress denouncing as hate speech Democrat Ilhan Omar's critique of American supporters of Israel
As the bickering went on, committee chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, was handed a news report that included the hateful comments on the hearing on YouTube.
He read them aloud, along with the users' screen names, as the room quieted.
"This just illustrates the part of the problem we're dealing with," Nadler said.
The hearing was prompted by the mosque shootings last month in Christchurch, New Zealand, which left 50 people dead.
The gunman live-streamed the attacks on Facebook and published a long post online that espoused white supremacist views.
But the controversy over white nationalism and hate speech has been struggling with online platforms such as Facebook and Google's YouTube for years.