Fake News: Facebook, Twitter Defend Actions Over US Election

Facebook and Twitter defended their handling of US election misinformation at a heated congressional hearing Tuesday where one key senator assailed the platforms for being the “ultimate editor” of political news.

The hearing, the second in less than a month, came with social media under fire from both the left and the right for their handling of political content during a bitter US presidential campaign.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified remotely to the session, which was called to discuss “censorship and suppression of news articles” and the “handling of the 2020 election” by the platforms.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, chairing the Judiciary Committee hearing, warned the CEOs that new regulations are needed to ensure the social media giants are held responsible for decisions on removing, filtering or allowing content to remain.

“It seems like you’re the ultimate editor,” Graham said at the opening as he took aim at decisions by both platforms to limit the distribution of a New York Post article claiming to expose malfeasance involving the son of President-elect Joe Biden during the campaign.

“When you have companies that have the power of governments (and) have far more power than traditional media outlets, something has to give.”

Graham said the law known as Section 230 that gives immunity to online services for content posted by others “needs to be changed.”

Megaphone for falsehoods

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal also called for reform of Section 230 while rebuking the companies for what he said was inadequate action against political misinformation by President Donald Trump.

“The president has used this megaphone to spread vicious falsehoods in an apparent attempt to overturn the will of voters,” Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal said the social media firms had “power far exceeding the robber barons of the last Gilded Age” and have “profited hugely by strip mining data about our private lives and promoting hate speech and voter suppression.”

Republican Senator Mike Lee meanwhile denounced what he called “instances in which your platforms are taking a very distinctively partisan approach and not a neutral one to election related content moderation… just days before the election.”

From the other side, Blumenthal said that “Facebook, seems to have a record of making accommodations and caving to conservative pressure” on content policies.

Democrat Dianne Feinstein questioned the adequacy of Twitter’s labeling of unverified tweets such as those of Trump claiming an election victory.

“Does that label do enough to prevent the tweets harms when the tweet is still visible and is not accurate?” the California senator asked.

230 rules

Both Dorsey and Zuckerberg said they were open to reform on Section 230 but cautioned that the platforms should not be treated as “publishers” or traditional media.

“We do have to be very careful and thoughtful about changes.. because going one direction might box out new competitors and new startups,” Dorsey said.

“Going another might create a demand for the possible amount of resources to handle it. Going yet another might encourage even more blocking of voices… I believe that we can build upon (Section) 230.”

Defending the filters

Both CEOs defended their efforts to curb harmful misinformation during the election campaign.

“We strengthened our enforcement against militias, conspiracy networks, and other groups to help prevent them from using our platform to organize violence or civil unrest in the period after the election,” Zuckerberg said.

He said Facebook removed false claims about polling conditions and displayed warnings on more than 150 million pieces of content flagged by independent fact-checkers.

Both CEOs said they would study the spread of election misinformation while allowing independent academics to carry out similar research.

Dorsey meanwhile said filtering at Twitter was not a result of bias, despite claims to the contrary by conservatives.

In filtering content, “all decisions are made without using political viewpoints, party affiliation, or political ideology,” Dorsey said in his testimony.

“Our Twitter rules are not based on ideology or a particular set of beliefs. We believe strongly in being impartial, and we strive to enforce our Twitter rules fairly.”

Both platforms have begun limiting the reach of many of Trump’s tweets, notably those in which the president rejected his election defeat or questioned the integrity of the voting process.

Twitter and Facebook have been facing pressure to remove what many see as harmful misinformation around the elections, while also fighting claims of suppression of certain political views.

AFP

8 thoughts on “Fake News: Facebook, Twitter Defend Actions Over US Election

  • March 13, 2021 at 1:23 pm
    Permalink

    200 650258I believe this web website has got really outstanding indited articles content material . 94738

  • April 19, 2021 at 9:03 pm
    Permalink

    564582 909765yourselfm as burning with excitement along accumulative concentrating. alter ego was rather apocalyptic by the mated ethical self went up to. It is punk up to closed ego dispirited. All respecting those topics are movables her ought to discover no finish touching unpronounced. Thanks so significantly! 211083

  • May 25, 2021 at 8:07 pm
    Permalink

    hey there and thanks in your info ?I have certainly picked up anything new from proper here. I did then again experience a few technical issues the usage of this web site, since I experienced to reload the site many instances previous to I may get it to load properly. I were considering in case your web host is OK? No longer that I am complaining, but sluggish loading circumstances instances will very frequently affect your placement in google and could harm your high-quality ranking if ads and ***********|advertising|advertising|advertising and *********** with Adwords. Anyway I am including this RSS to my email and can look out for a lot extra of your respective fascinating content. Make sure you update this again very soon..

  • May 27, 2021 at 12:55 pm
    Permalink

    You really make it appear so easy along with your presentation but I find this topic to be really one thing that I believe I might never understand. It seems too complicated and very large for me. I’m having a look ahead in your subsequent put up, I抣l try to get the hang of it!

  • June 6, 2021 at 12:08 am
    Permalink

    What i don’t realize is actually how you’re not actually much more neatly-preferred than you may be now. You are so intelligent. You already know therefore significantly relating to this topic, made me in my opinion consider it from numerous numerous angles. Its like men and women aren’t interested except it抯 one thing to accomplish with Girl gaga! Your individual stuffs great. At all times care for it up!

  • June 6, 2021 at 12:56 am
    Permalink

    Hi there, I discovered your site by means of Google while searching for a comparable subject, your web site got here up, it appears great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  • June 9, 2021 at 8:47 pm
    Permalink

    219332 964146I genuinely treasure your piece of function, Fantastic post. 780192

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: