Klobuchar Blames Republicans Politicizing Social Media Close to Election

Date: 2020-10-28 20:44:25

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With next week’s election looming, the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google were scolded by Republicans at a Senate hearing Wednesday for alleged anti-conservative bias in the companies’ social media platforms and received a warning of coming restrictions from Congress.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai waited to testify via video to the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday.

Lawmakers of both parties are assessing the companies’ tremendous power to disseminate speech and ideas, and are looking to challenge their long-enjoyed bedrock legal protections for online speech.

The Trump administration, seizing on unfounded accusations of bias against conservative views, has asked Congress to strip some of the protections that have generally shielded the tech companies from legal responsibility for what people post on their platforms.

Committee chairman, Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker complained that President Donald Trump’s tweets get harsher treatment than the Chinese communist party.

The session lacked the in-person drama of star-witness proceedings before the coronavirus. The hearing room was nearly empty except for Wicker and a few colleagues, but their questioning was sharp as tempers flared among members.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar noted that the hearing came 6 days before the presidential election and accused, “the Republican majority is politicizing what should actually not be a partisan topic. ”

“The three witnesses we have before this committee today collectively pose, I believe, the single greatest threat to free speech in America and the greatest threat we have to free and fair elections.” Texas Senator Ted Cruz said.

Social media giants are also under heavy scrutiny for their efforts to police misinformation about the election. Twitter and Facebook have imposed a misinformation label on content from the president, who has about 80 million followers. Trump has raised the baseless prospect of mass fraud in the vote-by-mail process.

Starting Tuesday, Facebook didn’t accept any new political advertising. Previously booked political ads will be able to run until the polls close Nov. 3, when all political advertising will temporarily be banned. Google, which owns YouTube, also is halting political ads after the polls close. Twitter banned all political ads last year.

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