Senators Cruz, Thune, Lee, Johnson call out Facebook, Twitter & Google (Dorsey, Zuckerberg & Pichais)

October 28, 2020


On 10/28/2020, during a senate hearing with tech CEOs, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, accused Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey his social media platform of improperly censoring reporting that reflected poorly on Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, asking at point, “Who the hell elected you?” “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 as a Democratic super PAC silencing views to the contrary of your political beliefs?” Cruz asked. Dorsey claimed that this was not the case. He also denied that Twitter has the ability to influence elections, a claim that Cruz derided as “absurd.”

Cruz asked, “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?” “People have choice of other communication channels,” Dorsey claimed. “Not if they don’t hear information,” Cruz shot back. “If you don’t think you have the power to influence elections, why do you block anything?”

“My understanding is that the person that is in charge of election integrity and security at Facebook is a former Joe Biden staffer, is there someone closely associated with President Trump in the same role at Facebook?” Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., asked the CEOs. “How do you all respond to that argument that there isn’t sufficient balance in terms of the political ideology or diversity in your companies, and how do you deal with the lack of trust that creates among conservatives?” “I think having balance is valuable, and we try to do that,” Zuckerberg responded. “I am not aware of the example of you say of someone in charge of this process who worked for Biden in the past, so we can follow up on that.”

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, asked Zuckerberg and Dorsey to name “one high-profile person or entity from a liberal ideology” who has been censored or had actions taken against them. “I can get you a list of some more of this but there are certainly many examples that your Democratic colleagues object to when… a fact-checker might label something as false if they disagree with it, or, um,” Zuckerberg said before he was cut off. “I get that, I just want to be clear, I’m just asking you if you could name for me, one high-profile liberal person or company who you have censored,” Lee said. “I just want one name, one person or one entity.”

Zuckerberg was unable to answer the question and told Lee he needed time to think about it. “But there are certainly many issues on both sides of the aisle where people think we are making content-moderation decisions that they disagree with,” Zuckerberg said. Lee then pointed out that most people on the call could easily identify high-profile conservatives who have been censored before asking the Twitter honcho if he had a better answer.

“Well, we can give a more exhaustive list, but again, we don’t have the political ideology of our accounts,” Dorsey said. “I’m not asking for an exhaustive list, I’m asking for a single example. Just one individual, one entity,” Lee said. “We’ve taken action on tweets from members of the House for election misinfo,” Dorsey responded. “Can you identity and example?” Lee asked. Dorsey could not name the Democratic members of Congress off the top of his head. “I’ll get those names to you,” he said.
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