Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey faced the wrath of Republican senators who demanded answers to why President Donald Trump has been subjected to censorship that no other world leader has, including the Supreme Leader of Iran.
Dorsey, along with Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, answered questions virtually during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Wednesday and attempted to defend decisions that seemed to repeatedly censor the president while allowing propaganda and calls to violence by other world leaders.
Chairman and Sen. Roger Wicker provided examples Wednesday of how Twitter “allows foreign dictators to post propaganda typically without restriction, yet you routinely restrict the president of the United States.”
The Mississippi Republican brought up how a Chinese official was allowed to use Twitter to accuse the U.S. military of allegedly spreading the coronavirus to Wuhan, China. Wicker noted how it took the social media giant two months to finally flag the Chinese propaganda while it immediately “imposed fact-check label on that tweet” about mail-in ballots that Trump posted back in May.
(Source: The Hill)
The senator also reminded Dorsey that Ayatollah Khamenei of Iran has repeatedly been allowed to “glorify violence” on Twitter, once even describing Israel as a “cancerous growth” that requires “firm, armed resistance.” However, Trump’s tweet this week noting “Big problems and discrepancies with Mail-In Ballots” was censored because it “is disputed and might be misleading.”
‘You routinely restrict the president of the United States. How does a claim by Chinese communists that the U.S. military is to blame for COVID stay up for two months without a fact check and the president’s tweet about the security of mail-in ballots get labeled instantly?’ Wicker asked.
Dorsey claimed the company took action on Trump’s tweet because “we saw the confusion it might encourage,” but Wicker continued to press him, noting that the tweets by Iran’s leaders are still up and still getting “likes” on the platform.
“The goal of our labeling is to provide more context, to connect the dots so people can have more information so they can make decisions for themselves,’ Dorsey said. ‘We did not find those to violate our terms of service because we considered them saber-rattling, which is part of the speech of world leaders in concert with other countries.”
Sen. Gory Gardner also had questions about the dubious policies when he questioned Dorsey, citing how Iran’s Ayatollah has used Twitter to openly deny that the Holocaust ever happened.
“Mr. Dorsey, do you agree that the Holocaust really happened, yes or no?” the Colorado Republican asked, to which Dorsey replied, “yes.”
“So you would agree that someone who says the Holocaust may not have happened is spreading misinformation?” the lawmaker followed up, saying he was “surprised” by Dorsey affirmative answer in light of the Iranian leader’s tweets which “remain unflagged” on Twitter.
WOW! After months of censoring Tweets from President Trump.
Twitter’s @jack could not name another world leader who they have also censored.
Dorsey added that Holocaust denial is not considered misinformation and does not violate the platform’s policies. pic.twitter.com/OCdBI5rkLV
— Francis Brennan (@FrancisBrennan) October 28, 2020
“It’s strange to me that you’ve flagged tweets from the president but haven’t hidden the Ayatollah’s tweets on Holocaust denial or calls to wipe Israel off the map,” Gardner said. “Millions of people died and that’s not a violation of Twitter?”
“It’s misleading information,” Dorsey replied, “but we don’t have a policy against that type of misleading information.”
Cory Gardner: “So, somebody denies the Holocaust has happened is not misinformation?”
Jack Dorsey: “It’s misleading information, but we don’t have a policy against that type of misleading information.”
— Michael McAuliff (@mmcauliff) October 28, 2020
He noted that the platform flags content for containing “misinformation” or “misleading” information based on categories: “manipulated media; public health, specifically COVID; and civic integrity, election interference and voter suppression.”
Dorsey was also grilled by Sen. Ted Cruz in a fiery exchange as the Texas Republican confronted him over the censorship of a New York Post article covering allegations about Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential nominee Hunter Biden.
“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?” Cruz demanded.
He later also slammed Zuckerberg and Pichai as well as Dorsey, saying they “collectively pose, I believe, the single greatest threat to free speech in America, and the greatest threat we have to free and fair elections.”
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