The GOP push against Facebook and Twitter accelerated Thursday after Republican senators threatened the CEOs of the social media companies with subpoenas to force them to deal with accusations of censorship within the closing weeks of the presidential campaign.With Democrats boycotting the hearing, the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee voted to authorize the legal orders if Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter's Jack Dorsey didn't comply with testify voluntarily.
The committee wants to listen to from them about "the suppression and/or censorship of two news articles from the ny Post,” consistent with the subpoena document. Senators also want information from the executives about their companies’ policies for moderating content “that may interfere” with federal elections.
The urgency ratcheted higher Thursday as U.S. officials said Russian hackers have targeted the networks of dozens of state and native governments in recent days, stealing data from a minimum of two servers. The revelation was bound to stoke fears that Americans' confidence within the Nov. 3 election results might be undermined.Russia backed President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign through hacking of Democratic emails and a covert social media campaign. Facebook became an unwitting conduit for misinformation and election disruption.
Facebook and Twitter acted last week to limit the web dissemination and sharing of an unverified political story from the conservative-leaning ny Post that targeted Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. The story, which other publications haven't confirmed, cited unverified emails from Biden’s son Hunter that were reportedly disclosed by Trump's allies.
One email alleged to show a top adviser for Burisma, the Ukraine gas service where Hunter Biden held a board seat, thanking Biden for giving him a chance to satisfy the elder Biden, who was vice chairman at the time.Trump’s campaign seized on the report, though the account raised more questions than answers, including whether emails at the middle of the story were hacked or fabricated. The FBI is investigating whether the emails are a part of a far off influence operation.
It was the primary time in recent memory that the 2 social media platforms enforced rules against misinformation on a story from a mainstream media publication.With the election looming, Facebook and Twitter have scrambled to stem the tide of fabric seen as potentially inciting violence and spreading disinformation and baseless conspiracy theories. Facebook has expanded its restrictions on political advertising, including new bans on messages claiming widespread voter fraud. Trump has raised the prospect of mass fraud within the vote-by-mail process.
The companies even have wrestled with how strongly they ought to intervene in speech on their platforms.
With Trump leading the way, conservatives have stepped up their claims that Facebook, Twitter and Google, which owns YouTube, are biased, charging without evidence Silicon Valley’s social media platforms are deliberately suppressing conservative views.
The Department of Justice has asked Congress to roll back long-held legal protections for online platforms. The proposed changes would strip a number of the bedrock protections that have generally shielded the businesses from liability for what people post on their platforms.Trump signed an executive order this year challenging the protections from lawsuits under a 1996 telecommunications law that has served because the foundation for unfettered speech on the web .
The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation, on a bipartisan vote, recently authorized subpoenas for Zuckerberg, Dorsey and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. The three have agreed to testify for a hearing planned for next week.
Democrats have focused their criticism of social media mainly on hate speech, misinformation and other content that they assert can incite violence or keep people from voting. they need criticized the CEOs for failing to police content, that specialize in the platforms’ role in hate crimes and therefore the rise of white nationalism within the us .
In 2017, following the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, tech giants began banning extremist groups and individuals espousing supremacist views and support for violence. Facebook extended the ban to white nationalists.From both political parties, the businesses have come under increasing scrutiny in Washington and from state attorneys general over problems with competition, consumer privacy and hate speech.
On Tuesday, the Department of Justice filed a landmark legal action against Google, accusing it of abusing its dominance in online search and advertising to spice up profits. it had been the government’s most vital plan to protect competition since the groundbreaking case against Microsoft quite 20 years ago.
Facebook, Amazon and Apple even have been targets of antitrust investigations by the Department of Justice and therefore the Federal Trade Commission.Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material might not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.