The committee chair, a Republican, opened the hearing by attacking the power social media companies have to modify content on their platforms, accusing them of making politically biased calls while hiding behind the liability shield for decades.
“I don’t want the government to take on the job of telling America what legitimate tweets are and what they’re illegal,” said Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina. “But when you have companies that have government power, and that have much more power than traditional media, they have to offer something.”
Mr. Graham’s early comments likely heralded a painful set of questions from Republican commissioners.
President Trump and his allies Spent years Attacking Silicon Valley platforms for what they say is anti-conservative bias, citing the liberal policy of corporate employees and moderation that has affected Republicans or conservative media. Evidence for these allegations It was always anecdotalAnd many right-wing figures have built a huge following on the Internet.
Mr. Graham objected to the way Twitter and Facebook initially limited the arrival of an article in the New York Post about Hunter Biden, son of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. The article prompted the commission to require the chief executives to attest the two companies.
“That, to me, sounds like you are the ultimate editor,” he said.
Mr. Graham’s comments are reflected in how conservatives are increasingly attacking companies for the way they have handled a difficult period after the presidential election, when President Trump refused to compromise despite Mr. Biden’s indomitable advance.
Mr. Graham questioned Twitter’s decision to classify a tweet from a Republican politician as a “contested” allegation of election fraud. He said the companies “were actually involved in telling us what to rely on and what not to rely on news commentaries on cable channels or tweets from politicians or ordinary citizens.”
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, and Jack Dorsey, President of Twitter, appear before members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to defend their companies’ actions to alter speech. It is the second time in two months that the two chief executives have testified, but it is possible that these fireworks have more fireworks that appeared in their last appearance, as their company played a central role during the last election.
They are likely to face many questions about how their social networks handle voting-related posts, videos, and photos. Both companies increased their ratings for election misinformation, including President Trump’s posts, while false and misleading content rose.
Committee chair Lindsay Graham of South Carolina called the hearing in October after Twitter and Facebook named or restricted the arrival of an article in the New York Post about Hunter Biden, son of President-elect Joseph Biden Jr., due to leaked and misleading information.
Executives, who have each appeared before Congress multiple times in recent years about data privacy and disinformation in the 2016 election and moderation in content, will face new questions, including whether the ongoing ban on political ads could threaten the Senate run-offs in 2016. Georgia and why hate content is still allowed on their sites.
President Trump and his Republican allies have repeatedly rejected actions by Twitter and Facebook to label and conceal the president’s posts in violation of policies against spreading false and misleading information about the election. Twitter has been particularly active with tagging Mr Trump’s tweets on Election Day and days later.
Meanwhile, Democrats say Facebook and Twitter were too lenient about disinformation and hate speech, allowing characters like Steve Bannon, who recently called for the beheading of Dr. Anthony Fauci, to preserve his Facebook account. They will also point to a rise in anti-Muslim content on Facebook and an increase in hate content on social media.
Among all the social media platforms, Twitter has been the most recent Particularly aggressive in challenging inaccurate publications related to elections Hide messages. This means that Twitter’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, could face private fire while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday on social media and censorship.
President Trump and other Republican leaders have claimed for months – and with an increasing voice in recent days – that Mr Dorsey has unfairly cracked down on them. They have threatened to roll back the legal protections of Twitter and other social media platforms.
It is possible that they are training their anger in two recent developments. One of them was Twitter’s decision last month for Restrict users from sharing an unverified article in the New York Post About Hunter’s son Joseph R. Biden Jr. Twitter has limited the article’s sharing to more than Facebook, sparking cries of censorship from Republicans.
Another focus is likely to be on Twitter’s handling of election-related content, and in particular, how the company appeared to moderate Trump and other conservatives so fiercely. Between Election Day and November 5, Twitter described 38 percent of Mr Trump’s 29 tweets as disputed or misleading, according to the New York Times count. Some tweets have been hidden from view.
Last week, Twitter said it had classified 300,000 tweets Related to the presidential election as disputed, or 0.2 percent of the total on the subject. He also said that the number of people tweeting has decreased by 29 percent in the wake of his efforts to prevent the sharing of disinformation.
“We want to be very clear that we are not seeing our work in this area as it has happened,” said Mr. Dorsey, in testimony prepared for the session. “Our work continues here, and our teams are learning and improving how we meet these challenges and gain the trust of the people who use Twitter. I look forward to continuing to work with you on solutions and building benchmarks for the Internet in the future.”
This will be Mr. Dorsey’s fourth appearance before lawmakers in recent years. Last month, he is He testified before the Senate Committee on Trade, Science, and Transportation Along with Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.
Mr. Dorsey was asked most of the questions in that session, as Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and other Republican leaders questioned him about his decision to limit the participation of the New York Post article. Twitter later reversed its decision, allowing people to post links to the article.
Tuesday, Twitter has also introduced Fleets, A feature that allows users to Tweet temporary messages. People can post photos or text messages to their Twitter pages temporarily, with the post itself automatically deleted after 24 hours.
Don’t be surprised if Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, begins to appear frequently at Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on censorship and social media. He’s done this before.
Five times, in fact. This will be Mr. Zuckerberg’s sixth appearance in front of Congress, and the 36-year-old is accustomed to making a presentation about how his social network – the largest in the world – is a force for good. Forget that Facebook is a true online disinformation and confusion analyzer.
Facebook said Mr Zuckerberg planned to remind lawmakers at the hearing that its platform is giving everyone on Earth a voice. This included elections this month. In the run-up to November 3, Facebook created the Voting Information Center, a center for voting data and trends, and directed millions of users to register to vote, among other steps.
As he did on Last virtual visit to Capitol Hill last monthZuckerberg is also likely to say that some laws governing platforms such as his own need to be updated and revisited. They include Article 230 of the Communications Etiquette Act, which protects companies like Facebook from liability for speech hosted on their platforms.
Facebook said Mr Zuckerberg is also likely to call again for new regulations on privacy, elections, and data portability. It has previously requested guidance in these areas from the federal government.
Lawmakers will likely focus their questions – again – on whether Facebook is censoring some of their views. Republican lawmakers in particular have assured that the company has an anti-conservative bias.
However, regardless of Zuckerberg’s defeat, it will likely be less severe than Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, when he, too, appears before the committee on Tuesday. That’s because Mr. Zuckerberg has succeeded in making his social network appear less intrusive than Twitter in blocking and categorizing content.
Last month, for example, Twitter Banning the participation of an article in the New York Post Which made groundless corruption allegations regarding Hunter Biden, son of President-elect Joseph R Biden Jr., Facebook did not go further and made the article link less visible in user feeds while the article was validated by third-party experts.
However, Facebook vigorously suppressed election-related lies during and after the elections. The Facebook groups that promoted the “Stop Theft” movement, which was built around the misconception that the election had been stolen from President Trump, were shut down. Facebook has also added more “friction” to slow the flow of disinformation onto its network by creating more steps to read and share posts.
These moves sparked a backlash by conservatives, with millions of people Threatens to leave Facebook For apps like Parler, MeWe, and Rumble. These apps marketed themselves to conservatives and positioned themselves as free speech sites. They’ve seen record numbers of new users over the past week, according to Sensor Tower, app analytics.