The chief executive officers of Twitter, Facebook and Google on Wednesday denied accusations of anti-conservative bias at a hearing at the US Senate and promised to aggressively defend their platforms from being used to sow chaos amid US elections.
Senators on the Commerce Committee extracted promises from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai that their companies would be on guard against meddling by foreign actors or the incitement of violence around the election results.
Testifying via video, the executives said that they are taking several steps, including partnerships with news organizations, to distribute accurate information about voting in the elections on Tuesday next week.
Dorsey said that Twitter was working with election officials.
“We want to give people using the service as much information as possible,” he said.
The social media platforms have been accused of deliberately suppressing conservative, religious and anti-abortion views, with the behavior reaching new heights in the contest between US President Donald Trump and former US vice president Joe Biden.
US Senator Roger Wicker, the committee’s chairman, said at the start of the hearing that the laws governing online speech must be updated because “the openness and freedom of the Internet are under attack.”
Wicker cited the move this month by Facebook and Twitter to limit dissemination of reports by the New York Post linking Biden to alleged improper business dealings involving his son, Hunter Biden, who joined the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma in 2014 while his father was vice president and helping conduct foreign policy with Kiev.
The reports cited e-mails apparently from Hunter Biden.
“Twitter’s conduct has by far been the most egregious,” US Senator Ted Cruz told Dorsey.
Cruz cited Twitter’s limitations on the newspaper reports as part of “a pattern of censorship and silencing Americans with whom Twitter disagrees.”
“Who the hell elected you? And put you in charge of what the media are allowed to report?” Cruz asked.
Dorsey told Cruz that he does not believe that Twitter can influence elections because it is only one source of information.
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