CEOs from Twitter, Facebook and Alphabet faced off against a Senate panel.
The CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google rebuffed accusations of anti-conservative bias at a Senate hearing Wednesday and promised to aggressively defend their platforms from being used to sow chaos in next week’s election.
In the online session, the executives said they are taking several steps, including partnerships with news organizations, to distribute accurate information about voting. “We want to give people using the service as much information as possible,” said Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, while Texas Senator Ted Cruz answered: “Twitter’s conduct has by far been the most egregious,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told Dorsey. Cruz cited Twitter’s limitations on the newspaper story as part of “a pattern of censorship and silencing Americans with whom Twitter disagrees.” Dorsey responded to Cruz that he does not believe that Twitter can influence elections because it’s only one source of information.
There’s no evidence that the social media giants are biased against conservative news, posts or other material, or that they favor one side of political debate over another, researchers have found, AP News wrote, but Republicans aren’t alone in raising concerns about the companies’ policies, as Democrats focused their criticism mainly on hate speech, misinformation and other content that can incite violence, keep people from voting or spread falsehoods about the coronavirus.
Starting Tuesday, Facebook isn’t accepting any new political advertising. Previously booked political ads will be able to run until the polls close Nov. 3, when all political advertising will temporarily be banned. Google, which owns YouTube, also is halting political ads after the polls close. Twitter banned all political ads last year.
Morning Brew picked up the best soundbites from the feisty affair:
“Section 230 is the Internet’s most important law for free speech and safety.” Jack Dorsey claimed that weakening the protections offered by the law would change the fabric of the digital world.
“Congress should update the law to make sure it’s working as intended.” Zuckerberg said he supports change because more clarity around content moderation benefits everybody, including the platforms.
“Mr. Dorsey, who the hell elected you and put you in charge of what the media are allowed to report…?” Republican Senator Ted Cruz broke out the H-E-double-hockey-sticks, reprimanding Twitter for disabling the sharing of a NY Post article about Hunter Biden.
“The issue is not that these companies…are taking too many posts down. The issue is that they are leaving too many dangerous posts up.” Democratic Senator Ed Markey said tech companies could go further in limiting the spread of hate speech and misinformation.