Facebook, Twitter, and Google testified before a Senate Committee regarding their moderation practices last Wednesday. The hearing held by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation tackled the same issue before Congress.
Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Jack Dorsey of Twitter, and Sundar Pichai of Google were all in attendance.
With the November 3 elections looming on the horizon, these chief executives experienced more challenging questions. They faced additional pressure to control and handle misinformation on social media and the web without exerting unfair and unbiased influence on the ongoing voting process.
Republicans Accused Media Giants of Selective Censorship
Republicans on the committee stated their concerns that Facebook, Twitter, and Google have already decided how they would moderate their contents in ways that would affect conservatives. It was said that the increasing and growing attention to this issue had attracted support from the Republican party’s base.
Although the party did not present evidence of the systemic bias across these platforms and services, they shared stories in which conservative lawmakers have had their shared contents restricted, limited, or deleted in all three platforms.
Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, the Commerce Committee Chairman, and Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado questioned Twitter’s chief executive Jack Dorsey about occasions where Twitter would tag President Trump’s tweets. But not the other elected officials in repressive undemocratic governments.
While Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, fixated and focused on how Twitter handled and responded to the recent article from the New York Post regarding Hunter, son of Joe Biden because the media giant restricted and limited the spread of the said article.
“Mr. Dorsey, who the hell elected you and put you in charge of what the media are allowed to report and what the American people are allowed to hear.”Senator Ted Cruz
Misinformation and Extremism on Democrats’ Agenda
Meanwhile, Democrats took the opposite approach in their line of questioning by pressing and prodding them regarding their efforts to halt and control the spread of extremism, radicalism, and misinformation. Democrats also imputed Republicans of holding this said hearing for President Trump’s advantage.
Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, questioned the tech giants on their plans and actions for how they would act in response to President Trump if he tried to delegitimize the coming election or call an election result ahead of time.
Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s chief executives responded by saying they all had plans of actions that included working and cooperating with The Associated Press for information and to give out results from local officials.