After the allegations of mass voter fraud, censoring Trump and Election Handling, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook and Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter appeared before the members of Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, November 17th, 2020 to testify about the actions of their companies.
The US Senate Judiciary Committee which was headed by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham comprised 12 Republicans and 10 Democrats.
The US Senate Committee questioned Facebook and Twitter on their actions concerning election-related content, alleged anti-right wing bias, and allegations of censorship. This is the second time in a month that the social media giants appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee, to testify over a similar issue.
The discussion was largely on content moderation by the two companies, along with that few other questions were also raised on content moderation policies, and antitrust issues, misinformation, dealing with hate speech and calls to violence and amplification of mail-in fraud allegations.
While Senator Ted Cruz questioned Dorsey on Twitter’s use of labels on posts about election fraud, calling the company’s stance a “disputed policy position”, Zuckerberg was questioned on the company’s task management software by Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, citing a Facebook whistleblower.
On questions rose over taking steps to prevent algorithmic amplification of false posts from Trump, Zuckerberg mentioned about blocking political groups from the site’s recommendations as other measures taken by the company.
Over the session, many other issues were also discussed like Senator Amy Klobuchar raised concern over antitrust, whereas Senator Richard Blumenthal asked how the companies plan to handle the growing problem of Spanish-language disinformation, and why Facebook declined to ban Steve Bannon after he suggested government officials should be beheaded.
To defend their respective companies, Twitter in one hand spoke about increasing transparency around the ranking algorithm and also by giving users a choice about how their feeds to get filtered, referring to a potential “marketplace” of algorithms from outside developers. Whereas Facebook suggested having a standardized framework for other social media companies to release similar information so that the users have an understanding of how effective companies’ policies are, while pointing out the transparency reports.
Both the CEOs of Facebook and Twitter raised their belief over changing Section 230 for the better. Dorsey also confirms that Twitter will no longer apply any special protections that the company provides to the world leaders. And Zuckerberg says the company would provide the same treatment as anyone else when it comes to hate speech and violence.