Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Tuesday returned to Congress to take questions concerning their content material moderation insurance policies earlier than the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Zuckerberg, Dorsey and Google CEO Sundar Pichai appeared earlier than the Senate Commerce Committee in late October to face comparable questions concerning censorship. The businesses’ enactment of latest insurance policies throughout and after the election to stop the unfold of misinformation highlighted the ability each platforms maintain in censoring content material.
Dorsey testified that Twitter eliminated some 300,000 election-related tweets between Oct. 27 and Nov. 11, representing 0.2% of all election-related tweets on the platform. Twitter has labeled or eliminated nicely over 50 posts from President Trump since Election Day.
“Within the lead as much as the 2020 elections, we made vital enhancements to our insurance policies to guard the integrity of the election. Most notably, this yr, we up to date our civic integrity coverage to extra comprehensively implement labeling or eradicating of false and deceptive info,” Dorsey wrote in his testimony.
He added that Twitter introduced these modifications publicly and briefed each presidential campaigns on the up to date insurance policies.
Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk on Tuesday praised Dorsey’s opening assertion posted to Twitter.
“Effectively mentioned,” Musk replied to Dorsey’s Twitter thread.
Republican lawmakers have lengthy criticized censorship on social media platforms, arguing that sure content material moderation insurance policies and selections unfairly goal conservative customers and posts.
Tuesday’s listening to was known as after lawmakers took situation with Twitter’s and Fb’s respective selections to temporarily block the distribution of a New York Put up story about President-Elect Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and his alleged international enterprise dealings. Each platforms allowed the distribution of the article after outcries.
Tuesday’s listening to has included dialogue factors echoing these that had been talked about through the Senate Commerce Committee’s October listening to however from a post-election perspective, together with Part 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which might face reform underneath the Biden administration.
Part 230 presents legal responsibility protections to social media and different tech platforms that enable third-party customers to publish content material on their web sites.
Whereas there seems to be a bipartisan concern that Massive Tech has an excessive amount of energy and wealth generally, Republicans have targeted a lot of their efforts on limiting what they allege to be censorship from Massive Tech firms — that are principally staffed by Democratic voters. Trump has known as to revoke Part 230 to remove protections from firms that wrongly censor customers.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-SC, mentioned throughout Tuesday’s listening to that Part 230 must be modified after mentioning Fb’s and Twitter’s selections to restrict the Put up article and accusing the businesses of constructing “editorial” selections.
Biden has additionally known as to revoke Part 230 however for the other purpose; he and different Democrats have argued that social media firms ought to be held accountable for not censoring sufficient content material that would result in hurt.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., for instance, introduced up Steve Bannon’s violent rhetoric, made throughout his present posted on-line, in opposition to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Dr. Anthony Fauci. Google eliminated an episode of Bannon’s present on YouTube, and Twitter suspended his account. Blumenthal pressed Zuckerberg about why Fb didn’t droop Bannon.
“I am very involved that, actually, Fb appears to have a report of constructing lodging and caving to conservative stress,” Blumenthal mentioned. “And the president has tried to use an government order on Part 230 to, once more, bully or browbeat and exert stress on you and others on this trade.”
Zuckerberg and Dorsey advised through the October listening to and on Tuesday that they’re open to congressional motion to amend Part 230. Modifications might embrace requiring firms to have oversight boards so customers might enchantment censorship selections and updating algorithms to extend transparency.
Graham additionally pressed Dorsey and Zuckerberg on social media habit, asking each CEOs whether or not they imagine their platforms are addictive and if they’ve seen “The Social Dilemma” — a film accessible on Netflix that questions the advantages and drawbacks of social media’s function in society and polarization within the U.S.
Each CEOs mentioned they’d not seen or weren’t accustomed to the movie.
“I’d encourage each of you to see it,” Graham mentioned. “So, here is what I feel we’re going to do on the committee over time: I hope, is to ask the query extra immediately, are these social media websites addictive? Have they got a public well being element that must be addressed? For years, we thought tobacco was an important factor. We discovered tobacco was not such an important factor. The medical science round these web sites have gotten extra regarding to me, significantly amongst youngsters.”
Vice President-elect Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who might have signaled how the incoming Biden administration will deal with Massive Tech, is not going to take part within the listening to, an aide advised Fox Information.