Key Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are now “wavering” on whether to subpoena Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over concerns about anti-conservative bias on social platforms, leaving the committee’s plan to address the issue up in the air according to a report from POLITICO.
Last week, following Twitter’s decision to fully ban sharing a New York Post story about a mystery laptop containing emails that allegedly show international influence peddling by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) warned Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, that he should expect to explain his platform’s censorship policies before the Senate committee.
Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, who has been hammering on Twitter’s growing role as a “publisher” rather than a “platform,” backed Cruz.
Twitter blocked all sharing of the Post story and locked the Post out of their platform after the outlet published the story, citing its “hacked materials” policy but failing to demonstrate how the Post’s reporting related to any incident of hacking. After an outcry, Dorsey took to Twitter to apologize for censoring the Post’s link and claimed Twitter would update its policies but noted that future policy changes would not apply to the Post’s situation.
“Straight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy and enforcement to fix. Our goal is to attempt to add context, and now we have [the] capabilities to do that,” Dorsey tweeted on Friday. Twitter’s Legal, Policy and Trust & Safety Lead, Vijaya Gadde, confirmed that the social media platform is making changes to its “hacked materials” policy to address “concerns that there could be many unintended consequences to journalists, whistleblowers, and others in ways that are contrary to Twitter’s purpose of serving the public conversation.”
The platform re-activated sharing for the Post’s story late last week. As The Daily Wire reported, an MIT study, released Monday, showed that Twitter’s censorship had the precise opposite effect from what was intended and that presumed censorship of “conservative” material “nearly doubled” attention on the Biden allegations.
On Friday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said the hearing would include a vote on whether to subpoena Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, in addition to Dorsey.
During a Tuesday Senate meeting on the subject, though, Republicans reportedly “wavered” on demanding testimony from tech bigwigs.
“Judiciary staff has indicated internally that plans for the vote were delayed in part due to some GOP panel members wavering on whether to support the action, according to one Senate GOP aide, who spoke anonymously to discuss private negotiations,” POLITICO said. “Republican officials have also expressed trepidation about how quickly the committee has moved to vote on the subpoenas, the aide said. A committee spokesperson did not immediately offer comment on the matter.”
The wavering Republicans went unnamed.
Cruz did tell POLITICO that he plans on hearing testimony from both Dorsey and Zuckerberg, even if he cannot get all Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on board.
“One way or another, either voluntarily or pursuant to subpoena, they will testify and they will testify before the election,” Cruz told the outlet.
The Republican National Committee also filed a complaint against Twitter with the Federal Election Commission late last week, alleging that Twitter’s censorship of a story damaging to Joe Biden amounted to an in-kind donation to Biden’s presidential campaign.