Risk & Compliance

Facebook, Twitter CEOs Defend Their Election Actions To The Senate

Mark Zuckerberg told Sen. Mike Lee, Utah Republican, that the company occasionally made "mistakes."
Vincent RyanNovember 18, 2020

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey appeared before the Senate in a virtual meeting to defend their actions surrounding the 2020 presidential election on Tuesday.

Senators grilled the social media honchos on questions surrounding election misinformation control, censorship, and the need for regulation and changes to Section 230  of the Communications Decency Act, the liability shield for internet companies.

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“There’s Republican and Democrat concern about the power that’s being used by social media outlets to tell us what we can see and what we can’t, what’s true and what’s not,” said the committee chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham of North Carolina.

Jack Dorsey admitted that Twitter’s actions in blocking users from sharing the New York Post article about President-elect Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, in late October, was wrong. Twitter changed its policies within 24 hours after social media outrage. Dorsey said that it demonstrated the company’s ability to take feedback and make changes transparently to the public.

Senators questioned Twitter’s policy of applying a label to outgoing President Donald Trump’s tweets about baseless voter fraud but still letting the tweets remain on the platform. Dorsey clarified that it’s “not our job” to referee election results, and hence Twitter points to correct sources with a disinformation label.

Dorsey confirmed that Trump’s account would not be qualified for exemption of some rules for world leaders in the wake of the November vote.

Mark Zuckerberg told Sen. Mike Lee, Utah Republican, that the company occasionally made “mistakes.” Lee said that it’s a consistent theme that such instances mostly relate to Republicans, conservatives, and pro-life activists.

Democrat Senators grilled Zuckerberg on Facebook’s decision not to ban former White House adviser Steve Banon’s account after his comments in a live-streamed video about Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI director Christopher Wray. Zuckerberg said that if Bannon repeatedly violates Facebook’s rule, the company would take further action.

Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal said that Alphabet’s YouTube should also be facing questions about the spread of misinformation through video.

This story originally appeared on Benzinga.

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