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Senate Judiciary Committee considers subpoenas for Facebook, Twitter CEOs over censoring NY Post

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The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider authorizing subpoenas to compel testimony from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg regarding the platforms’ censorship of New York Post articles.

If the Twitter and Facebook CEOs don’t agree to voluntarily give testimony “regarding the platforms’ censorship of New York Post articles,” then the Senate Judiciary Committee “will vote on authorizing the subpoenas at a date to be determined.”

Specfically, the motion dated October 22 states, “The Senate Committee on the Judiciary hereby authorizes its Chairman, after consulting the Ranking Member, to issue subpoenas to Jack Dorsey, Chief Executive Officer, Twitter, Inc. and Mark Zuckerberg, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Facebook, Inc., to testify before the Committee regarding:

  1. The suppression and/or censorship of two news articles from the New York Post titled ‘Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad’ and ‘Emails reveal how Hunter Biden tried to cash in big on behalf of family with Chinese firm’
  2. Any other content moderation policies, practices, or actions that may interfere with or influence elections for federal office
  3. Any other recent determinations to temporarily reduce distribution of material pending fact checker review and/or block and mark material as potentially unsafe.”

It’s been five days since the “smoking gun” story went live, and the New York Post hasn’t been able to post any Tweets since October 14.

After the New York Post published the “smoking gun” article of a political nature last Wednesday, Facebook communications director Andy Stone, who was previously the press secretary of a former senator, tweeted that Facebook was reducing the article’s distribution evidently before the story had even been reviewed by Facebook’s “third-party fact checking partners.”

In response, Senator Josh Hawley lambasted Facebook and demanded that the social media company explain its course of action.

Both Dorsey and Zuckerberg are already slated to appear before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to give testimony in a hearing called “Does Section 230’s Sweeping Immunity Enable Big Tech Bad Behavior?” alongside Google CEO Sundar Pichai on October 28.

Now, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider authorizing subpoenas for Zuckerberg and Dorsey to appear before its members to address censorship.

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Tim Hinchliffe
Tim Hinchliffe is the editor of The Sociable. His passions include writing about how technology impacts society and the parallels between Artificial Intelligence and Mythology. Previously, he was a reporter for the Ghanaian Chronicle in West Africa and an editor at Colombia Reports in South America. tim@sociable.co