‘More power than traditional media’: Facebook and Twitter policies attacked

Ted Cruz

Republican senators have attacked the executives of both Facebook and Twitter for what they called censorship of both President Trump and his allies during the US election while Democrats bemoaned the spread of misinformation.

The CEO’s, Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, defended their content moderation practices at a congressional hearing scheduled following the programs decided to block tales by the New York Post which made claims concerning the son of then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

The movement incited uproar among Republican lawmakers that have accused the companies of anti-conservative prejudice.

In his opening remarks, Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham asked, “What I want to try to find out is if you’re not a newspaper at Twitter or Facebook , then why do you have editorial control over the New York Post?”

He said that he didn’t think articles on Hunter Biden, refuted from the Biden campaign, needed to be flagged or excluded from supply.

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Democrats focused on the spread of misinformation by Trump, a Republican, along with his supporters. They pushed the businesses to restrict the spread of false and misleading material before elections in Georgia, where both Republican incumbent senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, are confronting run-offs against well-funded Democratic opponents – contests which will likely decide which party controls the Senate.

Zuckerberg and Dorsey admitted that the companies have made some mistakes, but mostly defended their own policies.

However, broader problems with their content moderation choices, particularly around violent speech, became evident when Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, requested Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg when he would commit to taking down the accounts of former Trump White House advisor Steve Bannon later he suggested that the beheading of 2 senior US officials.

Mr Zuckerberg refused. That’s not what our policies would suggest that we should do in this case,” he explained.

Journalists at our partner news agency Reuters reported last week that Zuckerberg told an all-staff assembly that Bannon had not violated enough of Facebook’s policies to warrant his suspension.

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Blumenthal also noted that Alphabet Inc’s Google, which owns YouTube, was awarded a “pass” from the hearing, stating that the firm was being rewarded for its “timidity” in articles moderation.

Zuckerberg and Dorsey also fielded several pointed questions on if they act as publishers, which the CEOs said they were not.

Upset over the companies’ decision on what to leave on the platform and what to take down, many Republican lawmakers and Trump have threatened to take away protections for internet companies under a federal law called Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Senator Graham also said he hopes Section 230 is changed.

“When you’ve got companies that possess the power of government, have far more energy than conventional press outlets, something must give,” he explained. Joe Biden, who media outlets are calling President Elect has stated he also favours repealing Section 230. Congressional Democrats, however, prefer a more deliberate approach to reforming the law.

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Zuckerberg and Dorsey stated they would be open to a reforms to the law.

In an October hearing, Twitter’s Dorsey said Section 230 could significantly hurt how folks communicate online. Zuckerberg said he supports changing the law but also said technology platforms were planning to censor more to avoid legal risks when the law is repealed.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Jonathan Landay. Editing by Steve Orlofsky.

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