The two kings of social media, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, were back in front of the Senate on Tuesday, taking a lashing from Republicans who say the pair have done absolutely nothing to curb censorship against conservatives since the last time they were in the hot seat. Everyone from Ted Cruz to Josh Hawley to Mike Lee took turns firing shots at Zuckerberg and Dorsey, accusing them of using their legal status as “platforms” to avoid responsibility for pushing a political agenda to their users.
Lee (R-UT) asked Dorsey to address the suspension of U.S. Customs and Border Commissioner Mark Morgan, whose account was temporarily locked after he expressed support for President Donald Trump’s border wall. Dorsey insisted that this amounted to a “mistake” on the part of the platform, but Lee was in no mood for excuses.
“Mistakes happen a whole lot more, almost entirely on one side of the political aisle rather than the other,” he noted. “These mistakes, they may be mistakes, but they’re mistakes that rhyme.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, one of the loudest advocates for legislation that would amend Section 230 of the U.S. Communications and Decency Act, accused Twitter of applying its content ruled in a “partisan and selective manner.”
Cruz took Dorsey to task for letting a New York Times story on the president’s tax returns spread across the platform, “even though a federal statute makes it a crime to distribute someone’s tax returns without their consent.” Cruz noted that this willingness to turn a blind eye was in sharp contrast to the way the platforms handled a New York Post story about Hunter Biden’s laptop and its controversial contents. In that case, Facebook limited the spread of the reporting; Twitter just outright banned the story from its site.
In a statement, Sen. Cruz’s office said: “Sen. Cruz fought to bring Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg to testify before the Senate Judiciary committee because he believes Big Tech’s abuses of power represent the single greatest threat to our democracy. These Silicon Valley oligarchs owe the American people real answers regarding their company’s recent actions and Sen. Cruz looks forward to holding these CEOs accountable at tomorrow’s hearing.”
While Republicans were pushing for transparency and freedom of speech, however, Democrats used their time to encourage Zuckerberg and Dorsey to censor even more content. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) both brushed aside concerns about conservative censorship to accuse the platforms of making “far-right content” from Fox News and Ben Shapiro popular across the sites.
Ironically, even as the hearings were ongoing, Twitter and Facebook were both engaged in the widespread censorship of posts questioning the official narrative on everything from the election to the coronavirus. And with Joe Biden heading to the White House, you have to imagine that very little will be done about these sites and their runaway censorship anytime soon.