On Wednesday, after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress while Democrats remained crushingly silent about Big Tech’s alleged attempts to suppress conservative points of view, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) ripped Dorsey, calling him a “partisan and a hypocrite,” and slammed Democrats: “There are no liberals left in the Democrat Party. Not a single Democrat Senator defended free speech or freedom of the press today.” He concluded, “This should terrify Americans.”
Biggest take away from the big tech hearings:
1) Jack Dorsey is a partisan and a hypocrite.
2) There are no liberals left in the Democrat Party. Not a single Democrat Senator defended free speech or freedom of the press today.
This should terrify Americans.
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) October 28, 2020
Reason Magazine noted in August 2019, “Every Democrat in the Senate is backing a constitutional amendment that aims to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the 2010 decision in which the Supreme Court lifted legal restrictions on what corporations and unions are allowed to say about politics at election time. … the so-called Democracy for All Amendment goes much further than nullifying one Supreme Court decision. It would radically rewrite the constitutional treatment of political speech, allowing Congress and state legislatures to impose any restrictions on election-related spending they consider reasonable.”
Section 230 of the U.S. Code states:
No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.
The term “otherwise objectionable” has given license to sites such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter to censor material they find “otherwise objectionable.”
Thus, Pichai, concerned that Congress might amend Section 230, tried to protect it; if the “otherwise objectionable” term were removed, Big Tech could be held liable for censoring views they don’t prefer.
Pichai claimed, “Of course, our ability to provide access to a wide range of information is only possible because of existing legal frameworks, like Section 230. The United States adopted Section 230 early in the internet’s history, and it has been foundational to US leadership in the tech sector. Section 230 protects the freedom to create and share content while supporting the ability of platforms and services of all sizes to responsibly address harmful content.”
The Daily Wire noted that Dorsey claimed on Wednesday during the Senate hearing that Twitter has not censored President Donald Trump. Dorsey had this exchange with Tennessee GOP senator Marsha Blackburn:
BLACKBURN: “Mr. Dorsey, is Donald Trump a world leader?”
BLACKBURN: “Okay, so it would be important for world leaders to have access to your platform, correct?”
BLACKBURN: “And so, why did you deny that platform via censorship to the U.S. president?”
DORSEY: “We haven’t censored the U.S. president.”
BLACKBURN: “Oh yes you have. How many posts from Iran’s terrorist Ayatollah have you censored?”
BLACKBURN: “How many posts from Vladimir Putin have you censored?”
DORSEY: “We have labeled tweets of world leaders. We have a policy around not taking down the content, but simply adding more context around it.”
BLACKBURN: “Okay, and the U.S. president you have censored 65 times. You testified that you’re worried about disinformation and election interference, that is something that we all worry about. And of course, for about a hundred years, foreign sources have been trying to influence U.S. policy and U.S. elections. Now, they’re onto your platforms, they see this as a way to get access to the American people. So, given your refusal to censor or ban foreign dictators, while regularly censoring the president, aren’t you at this very moment, personally responsible for flooding the nation with foreign disinformation?”
DORSEY: “Just to be clear, we have not censored. We have taken the tweets down that you’re referencing. They have more context in the label applied to them. And we do the same for leaders around the world.”
The Media Research Center reported, “Twitter has been far and away the biggest offender, labeling, fact-checking, and removing Trump’s tweets and the tweets from his campaign accounts 64 times since the president’s election.”
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