The New York Post has been locked out of its Twitter account for two weeks, after it tweeted links to a series of articles that suggested Democratic candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, were involved in corrupt foreign dealings. Twitter said that the story – allegedly sourced from Hunter Biden’s laptop – violated its policy against “hacked materials,” and censored other accounts including a Senate Republican account for retweeting it.
Twitter eventually relented, but the New York Post is still locked out of the platform. At a virtual hearing held by the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday, Dorsey told Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that the paper would remain banned unless it deleted its original tweet about the story.
However, Dorsey said that as the initial ban had been handed down in error, the Post could then “tweet the exact same material, tweet the exact same article, and it would go through.”
Ted Cruz absolutely BODIED him. pic.twitter.com/GLqV3fSoRZ
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) October 28, 2020
Cruz didn’t relent, and went on to slam Dorsey for allowing the New York Times to tweet about President Donald Trump’s tax returns, even though it is “a crime, a federal felony, to distribute someone’s tax returns against their knowledge.”
“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 continue behaving like a Democratic super PAC?” Cruz ranted.
Dorsey’s reply was a simple “we’re not doing that.”
Cruz wasn’t the only Republican to grill Dorsey on his platform’s censorship policies. Commerce Committee chairman Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) blasted Dorsey for censoring President Trump’s tweets about mail-in voting and the coronavirus pandemic, while allowing “foreign dictators to post propaganda.”
“I just don’t understand how you can label the president of the United States. Have you ever taken a tweet down from the Ayatollah?” Colorado Republican Cory Gardner asked.
Dorsey replied that Twitter did not find a host of tweets from Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – during which the Ayatollah threatened Israel with Jihad – to violate its terms. Trump’s tweets, however, “can cause more immediate harm,” the Twitter CEO claimed.
Dorsey appeared at Wednesday’s hearing alongside Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google chief Sundar Pichai. Democrats mostly focused their questions around the tech bosses’ apparent failures to fight “misinformation,” while Republicans lasered in on allegations of bias and censorship.
All three CEOs defended Section 230, a US law that allows social media sites to be treated as ‘platforms’ instead of ‘publishers’, and permits them to police what kind of content they allow on their sites. Republicans argue that this law has enabled the companies to restrict content at will, and for partisan reasons. President Trump has repeatedly called on Congress to repeal the law, and did so again during Wednesday’s hearing.
“The USA doesn’t have Freedom of the Press, we have Suppression of the Story, or just plain Fake News,” he tweeted. “Repeal Section 230!”
The USA doesn’t have Freedom of the Press, we have Suppression of the Story, or just plain Fake News. So much has been learned in the last two weeks about how corrupt our Media is, and now Big Tech, maybe even worse. Repeal Section 230!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 28, 2020
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