Republican Senators blasted the recent censorship by big tech social media platforms Twitter and Facebook after they covered up an explosive New York Post story about Joe Biden – promising that retaliation was coming.
Sens. Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham and Josh Hawley on Thursday called on the heads of Twitter and Facebook to testify, adding that a subpoena was in the works just weeks ahead of the election.
“This is election interference and we’re 19 days out from an election,” Cruz said. “It has no precedent in the history of democracy. The Senate Judiciary Committee wants to know what the hell is going on.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee leaders announced they will vote on a subpoena Tuesday for Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, to testify before the committee on Friday, Oct. 23. Hawley said he hoped the committee would vote to subpoena Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, too.
Republicans accused the social media platforms of censorship and implied the tech giants were in cahoots with the Biden campaign to suppress a negative story.
Conservatives also called out the tech giants for doing nothing to stop the spread of anti-Trump conspiracy theories, such as the Steele dossier or Russia collusion allegations which have both been proven to be lies.
The Republicans pointed to the power the tech giants wield and how their decisions on content can influence voters’ understanding of the candidates.
“We’re going to finally have an accounting that’s long overdue,” Judiciary Committee chairman Graham said. “The power behind these platforms have been taken to a level that truly is dangerous.”
Twitter’s censorship reached new heights on Wednesday in an attempt to stop the spread of this troubling story that linked Joe Biden to his son’s shady business dealings in Ukraine, as the left-leaning social media platform event went as far as suspending the official account of the Trump campaign for sharing information related to the story.
On Wednesday night, Twitter sent a series of tweets clarifying why the New York Post articles were in violation of its “hacked materials policy.”
The company’s 2018 policy prohibits the distribution of content “obtained without authorization.” Twitter doesn’t want to incentivize hacking or circulating “possibly illegally obtained materials.”
“Commentary on or discussion about hacked materials, such as articles that cover them but do not include or link to the materials themselves, aren’t a violation of this policy,” Twitter said. “Our policy only covers links to or images of hacked material themselves.”
Twitter’s Dorsey also shared the update and said the company had not done a good enough job of communicating why it took the actions it did.
Republican lawmakers blasted Dorsey’s response, saying it was simply not good enough, and demanded real answers.
Hawley already invited Dorsey and Zuckerberg to testify before his subcommittee and said a subpoena for Dorsey to appear before the full committee next week is the right first step, while urging the committee to consider one for Zuckerberg, too.
“We believe in a free press in this country and we also believe in free elections,” Hawley said. “The attempt to rig an election, which is what we’re seeing here by monopolies, is unprecedented in American history. They have a lot to answer for.”
The Biden campaign, happy to have the social media giants in their corner, celebrated the censorship claiming that the story must be false because Twitter decided to censor it.
Jamal Brown, Biden campaign press secretary, told Cheddar TV Thursday: “Twitter’s response to the actual article itself makes clear that these purported allegations are false and not true.”
Brown added, on behalf of the Biden campaign, that he was “glad” to see the silicon valley giants using censorship.
“I’m glad to see social media companies like Twitter taking responsibility to limit misinformation,” Brown said.