Nov. 17 (UPI) — Partisan divides over the position of social media platforms in U.S. elections have been on show Tuesday as Fb founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey have been referred to as to reply questions from the Senate judiciary committee.
The tech leaders appeared remotely earlier than the committee and have been requested how their platforms dealt with the unfold of data, and potential misinformation, through the 2020 election marketing campaign.
Whereas each corporations took steps to curb the unfold of misinformation within the weeks and months earlier than Election Day, Republican panel members grilled the pair about what they characterised as bias towards President Donald Trump and conservatives typically.
Judiciary committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., criticized Twitter and Fb for limiting the publicity of two New York Submit articles that made unproven and unverified claims about Hunter Biden, the son of President-elect Joe Biden.
Fb flagged the article for third-party fact-checking and Twitter initially blocked hyperlinks to the New York Submit articles altogether, however later reversed course.
The businesses, Graham stated, are “actually engaged in telling us what’s dependable and what’s not based mostly on cable information commentary or tweets from politicians or common residents.”
Zuckerberg and Dorsey, nonetheless, defended the best way they navigated the tough election marketing campaign — significantly after Russian hackers made repeated efforts on-line and by way of social media to intervene and affect the vote 4 years in the past in Trump’s favor.
Dorsey stated he acknowledges that Twitter had made a mistake in the best way it dealt with the New York Submit tales, and agreed that social media corporations should be extra clear about why they label or take away posts.
“It is kind of opaque to the general public and that is the place I feel now we have a spot,” he stated. “We now have transparency round our insurance policies. We would not have transparency round how we function content material moderation… the rationale behind it.”
Zuckerberg stated he was happy with Fb’s efforts.
“From what we have seen up to now, our techniques labored properly,” he stated.
Democratic panel members, in the meantime, criticized the Republican majority for even holding the listening to.
“This listening to just isn’t a severe one. It’s a political sideshow — a public tar and feathering,” the committee’s high Democrat, Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, stated in his opening remarks.
Tech corporations like Fb and Twitter have come beneath elevated scrutiny this yr amid accusations of censorship — principally from Republicans, together with Trump.
Throughout and past the presidential marketing campaign, Twitter has repeatedly flagged Trump’s tweets that comprise inaccurate or deceptive data. In lots of these tweets, he tried to say victory in key battleground states and has repeatedly made unfounded accusations of voter fraud and misconduct.
Tuesday was the second time Zuckerberg and Dorsey appeared within the Senate to testify within the final three weeks. Late final month, they testified with Google CEO Sundar Pichai at a listening to about Part 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields social platforms from duty for person content material and says they’re beneath no obligation to reasonable.
Throughout that listening to, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, additionally criticized Dorsey for Twitter’s dealing with of the New York Submit articles.