A right-wing offensive is underway to discredit social media companies just days before the election.
What began as complaints about anti-conservative censorship by social media companies has now evolved into outright allegations of election interference, as high-ranking Republicans have accused online platforms of helping Democrats by way of their content moderation decisions. On Wednesday, the Senate Commerce Committee is set to grill the CEOs of Facebook (FB), Google (GOOG) and Twitter (TWTR) amid right-wing cries of partisanship and threats to change a critical law, known as Section 230, that protects the companies’ ability to moderate content as they see fit.
Outside experts have found little evidence to support claims of widespread, systematic political bias in Silicon Valley’s technology. But the conservative allegations are an explosive charge and a dramatic escalation ahead of Election Day. They reflect not only the stakes of the race, but also the fact that Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have become key parts of America’s democracy, for better or for worse — and now, fair game for a party with a habit of working the refs.
The Commerce Committee isn’t the only one looking to put tech execs in the hotseat. Last Thursday, Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans voted to authorize subpoenas for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey that would compel them to testify about conservative censorship. No Democrats participated in the vote to compel their testimony.
In calling for the subpoenas earlier this month, Sen. Ted Cruz blasted tech platforms for “actively interfering in this election in a way that has no precedent in the history of our country.”
“Twitter and Facebook and Big Tech billionaires don’t get to censor political speech and actively interfere in the election,” Cruz said. “That’s what they’re doing right now.”
Twitter declined to comment for this story…
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