WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a senate hearing with representatives of tech and social media firms, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) engaged in a heated exchange with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey over his platform’s decision earlier this month to limit the spread of a New York Post story on Hunter Biden, initially blocking users from tweeting links to the article.
“Mr. Dorsey, who the hell elected you and put you in charge of what the media are allowed to report and what the American people are allowed to hear, and why do you persist in behaving as a Democratic super PAC silencing views to the contrary of your political beliefs?” Cruz said.
The meeting, held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, was attended by the heads of several social media and tech giants, including Dorsey, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, with the discussion centering on free expression on the internet and how the Communications Decency Act of 1996 currently protects their companies.
However, Cruz soon tore into Dorsey for what he alleged was an anti-conservative bias when it comes to Twitter. Dorsey denied the allegation, and stated that Twitter does not have any influence over elections, an assertion that Cruz strongly disagreed with.
“You’re testifying to this committee right now that Twitter, when it silences people, when it censors people, when it blocks political speech, that has no impact on elections?” Cruz said.
“People have choice of other communication channels,” Dorsey responded, and stated that anyone who uses Twitter must agree with the company’s terms and services.
Twitter’s initially public reasoning for blocking the Post story – regarding a laptop allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden that supposedly contained compromising information on him and his father, former vice president and current presidential candidate Joe Biden – was due to a policy regarding “hacked material.” However, Dorsey said, the company has since made amendments to that policy, and Twitter users are now permitted to link to the story.
However, Cruz later stated in a tweet that this was still not the case, accusing Dorsey of lying under oath due to the fact that the Post story was still unable to be shared. Twitter tech support responded directly to Cruz’ tweet, claiming that the problem was a technical issue due to the article in question possessing an “Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) link. Since multiple URLs can redirect to the same article, we fixed this specific use case. You should now have no issues tweeting this.”
The Published Reporter tested its own Tweet of the material and it was posted to the Twitter site without issue.