Sens. Lee, Cruz, Hawley, Blackburn BASH Big Tech Censorship at Hearing

November 17th, 2020 4:26 PM

Senate Republicans were not taking any excuses about censorship of conservatives from two Big Tech CEOs who appeared before the Senate once again.

The Nov. 17 hearing, entitled “Breaking the News: Censorship, Suppression, and the 2020 Election,” featured testimony from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) asked about Twitter’s suspension of Mark Morgan, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner. Dorsey called the removal a “mistake,” but Lee fired back, “[M]istakes happen a whole lot more, almost entirely on one side of the political aisle rather than the other.” 

“These mistakes, they may be mistakes, but they're mistakes that rhyme,” said Lee

Furthering the case against Facebook and Twitter, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) bashed Twitter for applying its policies in a “partisan and selective manner.” He blasted the platform for allowing The New York Times story that allegedly revealed President Donald Trump’s tax returns, “even though a federal statute makes it a crime to distribute someone’s tax returns without their consent.” Cruz then juxtaposed the example of Trump’s tax returns with the New York Post story that claimed to expose alleged corrupt dealings of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden in Ukraine. A recent post-election poll conducted by MRC found that 36 percent of Biden voters were not aware of this story.  

“Sen. Cruz fought to bring Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg to testify before the Senate Judiciary committee because he believes Big Tech’s abuses of power represent the single greatest threat to our democracy. These Silicon Valley oligarchs owe the American people real answers regarding their company’s recent actions and Sen. Cruz looks forward to holding these CEOs accountable at tomorrow’s hearing,” a spokesperson for Sen. Cruz’s office told NewsBusters in a statement.

Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) referenced a whistleblower who revealed something called a “Task” platform, which he said Facebook employs for content moderation. Hawley said that Facebook uses Task to “coordinate their censorship efforts” with Google and Twitter. He also discussed a tool called Centra, with which Facebook can track users across the internet, and asked Zuckerberg “under oath” for a list of people censored with those tools. Zuckerberg promptly declined. 

Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TX)  was also not about to let Facebook off the hook. She referred to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act as “a liability shield that [Facebook and Twitter have] turned into an opaque wall.” 

Senate Democrats, of course, pushed for more censorship on Facebook and Twitter. Although Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) claimed that he wasn’t interested in being a part of “the speech police,” he accused Facebook of not fact-checking conservative sites enough. He also threatened antitrust action against Facebook, like “breaking up, for example, Instagram and Wattsapp.”

Throughout the hearing, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) called claims of anti-conservative bias “baseless” and took umbrage with the popularity of what she called “far-right” content” from Fox News, Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino. Hirono cited the popularity of these content creators as evidence that bias against conservatives is nonexistent.  

The timing for this hearing is fitting, considering Twitter and Facebook’s constant censorship of posts related to the election.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact Facebook headquarters at 1-650-308-7300 and Twitter at (415) 222-9670, and contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.