Senate Judiciary Committee considers subpoenas for Facebook, Twitter CEOs over censoring NY Post
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.
Chairman @LindseyGrahamSC announced the committee would 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. https://t.co/gDr0sjNuNK
— Senate Judiciary (@senjudiciary) October 19, 2020
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:
- 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’
- Any other content moderation policies, practices, or actions that may interfere with or influence elections for federal office
- 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.”
While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook’s third-party fact checking partners. In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.
— Andy Stone (@andymstone) October 14, 2020
In response, Senator Josh Hawley lambasted Facebook and demanded that the social media company explain its course of action.
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) October 14, 2020
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.