Senate Committee Seeks Subpoena Against Facebook and Twitter Leaders
WASHINGTON — A Senate committee voted to subpoena the chief executives of Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. Thursday over what its chairman called censorship of information potentially embarrassing to presidential candidate Joe Biden.
The social media giants limited the sharing of New York Post articles that said Biden’s son used his family influence to assist his business associates at a Ukrainian company.
The newspaper articles were reportedly based on emails taken from a computer allegedly belonging to Biden’s son, Hunter. The first article said Hunter tried to introduce an executive at the Ukrainian company that employed him to his father, who was then vice president.
Democratic frontrunner Biden has called the New York Post stories a “smear.” He denies their accuracy.
After internal investigations and media reports of their limits on the information, Facebook and Twitter officials lifted the restrictions.
However, some Republicans said Facebook and Twitter gave inadequate explanations.
They also questioned whether the companies were trying to protect Biden’s presidential campaign from potentially embarrassing disclosures.
Normally congressional committees obtain information by asking witnesses to appear at hearings to testify voluntarily. A subpoena indicates the senators were trying to compel the testimony of chief executives Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey.
The vote was unanimous among the Senate Judiciary Committee’s 12 Republicans. Democrats boycotted the business meeting to protest the nomination to the Supreme Court of Amy Coney Barrett.
The subpoena would “hopefully give us some leverage to secure their testimony,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee.
It also continues recent concern mentioned in several congressional hearings that Facebook, Twitter and Google are getting too big and powerful with the way they control content on their Internet platforms.
The chief executives of all three companies are scheduled to testify next week before the Senate Commerce Committee on their policies for posting and controlling content. Occasionally they have been accused of bias against conservatives.
Some members of Congress suggest modifying Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects social media companies from liability for user content.
The Senate Judiciary Committee motion for a subpoena against Facebook and Twitter seeks information about “any other content moderation policies, practices, or actions that may interfere with or influence elections for federal office.”
In The News
Reforming Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act is not enough to curb the power of social media platforms, and should be bolstered by federal and state laws to enforce transparency, accountability and anti-discrimination, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said. Despite the “tremendous benefits” the tech... Read More
BEDMINSTER, N.J. - Former President Donald Trump filed a class action lawsuit against Facebook, Twitter and Google, and their CEOs on Wednesday, alleging the companies violated his 1st Amendment rights when they banned him and suspended his accounts. “Our case will prove this censorship is unlawful,... Read More
WASHINGTON - Former top Trump advisor Jason Miller will launch GETTR, a new social media platform, on July 4, a launch date chosen to “symbolically declare independence from Big Tech,” according to a release from the company. “There is a clear need for a new social... Read More
Last May, as Twitter was testing warning labels for false and misleading tweets, it tried out the word "disputed" with a small focus group. It didn't go over well. "People were like, well, who's disputing it?" said Anita Butler, a San Francisco-based design director at Twitter... Read More
WASHINGTON - Former President Donald Trump on Saturday rolled out his new social media presence, inviting recipients of emails to his Save America PAC to subscribe to his page on rumble.com. The invite was sent out just hours before the return of his political rallies, with... Read More
WASHINGTON - A heated debate took place in the House Judiciary Committee markup of a merger fee legislation that skated through the Senate, but their congressional counterparts took three hours Wednesday to come close to an agreement. The single amendment bill entitled, Merger Filing Fee Modernization... Read More