Big Tech CEOs Testify Before Senate Commerce Committee

Some highlights:

Ted Cruz blasted Jack Dorsey for Twitter’s censorship of views and facts it doesn’t like; from conservatives in particular.

……Dorsey appeared before Senate Commerce Committee alongside Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, for a hearing on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the law that allows big tech platforms to censor users with limited legal repercussions.

After briefly addressing the other two CEOs, including a shot at Google over its “willingness to manipulate search outcomes to influence and change election results,” Sen. Cruz shifted focus to Dorsey.

“Of the three players before us, I think Twitter’s conduct has, by far, been the most egregious,” said Cruz.

In a tense exchange with the Senator, Dorsey denied Twitter’s ability to influence elections:

CRUZ: “Mr Dorsey, does Twitter have the ability to influence elections”


CRUZ: “You don’t believe Twitter has any ability to influence elections?”

DORSEY: “No. We are one part of an [inaudible] spectrum of communication channels that people have.”

CRUZ: “So you’re testifying to this committee, right now, that Twitter, when it silences people, when it censors people, when it blocks political speech, that has no impact on elections?”

DORSEY: “People have choice, of other communications channels, which –”

CRUZ: “Not if they don’t hear information. If you don’t think you have the power to influence elections, why do you block anything?”

DORSEY: “We have policies that are focused on making sure that more voices on the platform are possible. We see a lot of abuse and harassment that ends up silencing people and having them leave from the platform.”

CRUZ: “I find your opening answers absurd on their face.”

Cruz then went on to talk about Twitter’s censorship of the New York Post. 

“Two weeks ago, Twitter and to a lesser extent Facebook, crossed a threshold which is fundamental in our country,” said Cruz. “Two weeks ago, Twitter made the unilateral decision to censor the New York Post, a series of two blockbuster articles, both alleging evidence of corruption against Joe Biden, the first concerning Ukraine, the second concerning Communist China.”

“Twitter made the decision, number one to prevent users – any user – from sharing those stories. And, number two, you went even further and blocked the New York Post from sharing on Twitter its own reporting. Why did Twitter make the decision to censor the New York Post?”

Dorsey responded by referencing Twitter’s “hacked materials” policy, introduced in 2018. However, Dorsey admitted that Twitter didn’t know that the materials in the Post’s story were hacked, merely that it was “unclear.”

“So in your view, if it’s unclear the source of a document – and in this instance, the New York Post documented what it said the source was – it said it was a laptop owned by Hunter Biden that had been turned in to a repair store. So they weren’t hiding what they claimed to be the source. Is it your position that Twitter, when you can’t tell the source, blocks press stories?”

Dorsey quickly responded that his team made a “fast decision” and that the policy of blocking links to the story was “incorrect” and has now been changed.

“Today, right now, the New York Post is still blocked from tweeting, two weeks later,” retorted Cruz.

“Yes, they have to log into their account … delete the original tweet, which fell under our original enforcement actions, and they can tweet the exact same material, the exact same article, and it would go through.”

The answer did not satisfy Cruz, who went on to highlight Twitter’s failure to enforce the same policy against the New York Times.

CRUZ: “So, Mr. Dorsey … You have the power to force a media outlet – let’s be clear, the New York Post isn’t just some random guy tweeting, the New York Post has the fourth-highest circulation of any newspaper in America, the New York Post is over two hundred years old, the New York Post was founded by Alexander Hamilton, and your position is that you can sit in Silicon Valley and demand of the media, that you can tell them what stories they can publish and you can tell the American people what stories they can hear, is that right?”

“Let me ask you something. You claim it was because of a ‘hacked materials’ policy … Did Twitter block the distribution of the New York Times’ story a few weeks ago that purported to be based on copies of President Trump’s tax returns.”

DORSEY: “We didn’t find that a violation of our terms of service and this policy, because it was reporting about the material, not distributing the material.”

CRUZ: “That’s actually not true. They posted what they purported to be original source materials, and federal law, federal statute makes it a crime, a federal felony, to distribute someone’s tax returns against their knowledge, so that material was based on something that was distributed in violation of federal law, and yet Twitter gleefully allowed people to circulate that. But when the article was critical of Joe Biden, Twitter engaged in rampant censorship and silencing.”

DORSEY: “And, again, we recognize errors in that policy. We changed it within 24 hours.”

CRUZ: “But you’re still blocking the New York Post. You haven’t changed it.”

DORSEY: “We have changed it. They can log into their account, delete the original tweet, and..”

CRUZ: “You can censor the New York Post, you can censor Politico, presumably you can censor the New York Times or any other media outlet. 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, and why do you persist in behaving like a Democratic super-PAC, silencing views to the contrary of your political beliefs?”

The New York Times story wasn’t censored because it’s right in line with Twitter’s selective leftwing terms of service. The New York Post story, not so much.

Both Dorsey and Zuck admitted that they had no evidence that reports about Hunter Biden’s emails were “Russian disinformation”, as claimed by Dems:

The New York Post reported two weeks ago that former Vice President Joe Biden had met with Hunter Biden’s colleague from the Ukrainian oil company, Burisma.

However, Twitter and Facebook suppressed the story, and Twitter has locked the Post‘s Twitter account.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) questioned the two about their censorship of the story:

Sen. Johnson: For both Mr. Zuckerberg and Dorsey, who censored, censored the New York Post stories ,or throttled them back, do either one of you have any evidence that the New York Post story is part of “Russian disinformation,” or that those emails aren’t authentic? Do any of you have any information whatsoever they are not authentic or they are Russian disinformation? Mr. Dorsey.

Dorsey: We don’t.

Sen. Johnson: You don’t? So why would you censor it? Why did you prevent that from being disseminated on your platform that is supposed to be for the expression of ideas, and particularly true ideas.

Dorsey: We believed it fell afoul of our hacking materials policy. We judged —

Sen. Johnson: But what of them … was hacked? They weren’t hacked.

Dorsey: We judged in the moment that it looked like it was hacked materials —

Sen. Johnson: You were wrong.

Dorsey: — surfacing, and we updated our policy and our enforcement within 24 hours.

Sen. Johnson: Mr. Zuckerman — or Zuckerberg?

Zuckerberg: Senator, as I testified before, we relied heavily on the FBI’s intelligence and alerts us, both through their public testimony and private briefings and alerts they gave us.

Sen. Johnson: Did the FBI contact you and say the New York Post story was false?

Zuckerberg: Senator, not about that story specifically.

Sen. Johnson: So why did you throttle it back? Why did you throttle it back?

Zuckerberg: They alerted us to be on heightened alert around the risk of hack-and-leak operations. … To be clear on this, we didn’t censor the content. We flagged it for fact-checkers to review and pending that review, we temporarily constrained its distribution to make sure that it didn’t spread wildly while it was being reviewed. But it’s not up to us either to determine whether it’s Russian interference nor whether it’s true.

“Flagged for fact-checkers”.  Get a load of Facebook’s “fact-checkers”:  The site’s main “fact-checker”, Lead Stories,  is full of  Democratic Party donors and former CNN employees.  Facebook’s censorship squad includes a Muslim Brotherhood activist. The site also uses discredited, bogus, unreliable, biased liberal “fact-checkers” like Snopes and Politifact.

Notice how Dosey and Zuck did a tapdance that would make Fred Astaire jealous.

Doesn’t matter. They’re lying like they did the other times they’ve testified, and they’ll keep on censoring.

The only catalyst that will change Big Tech’s hold on social media is to start using free speech sites like Parler and Gab. They don’t censor facts and viewpoints based on a political bias.



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