SENATOR Ted Cruz has accused Facebook and Twitter of "egregious" abuse of power over censorship on the Hunter Biden scandal.
During the Senate hearing on Wednesday on Big Tech censorship, Cruz asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey about the platform's censorship of the New York Post's reporting on Hunter's laptop.
Dorsey said Twitter doesn't have the ability to "influence elections" — but was slammed by the Republican senator for its policies.
Two weeks ago, Twitter censored the Post's reporting from the platform for less than 24 hours.
Facebook — which Cruz said also has problems but "is at least trying to defend free speech" — also briefly censored sharing of the article.
The articles were about emails, photos, and other personal documents that were supposedly on Hunter's laptop that he dropped off at a repair store in Delaware in 2019.
Twitter said that, initially, anyone who tweeted out the URLs or sent them via direct message was stopped from doing so and temporarily banned from the platform.
But within 24 hours, Twitter acknowledged it was "incorrect" to stop people from sharing the link.
Dorsey explained on Wednesday that the decision was made in line with a policy created in 2018 on "hacked materials."
Dorsey said that the Post's reporting was based on documents that were seemingly "hacked" from Hunter's laptop.
Cruz said this was "highly dubious and clearly employed in deeply partial way."
The Texas senator went on to question whether Twitter blocked or censored The New York Times' recent reporting on President Donald Trump's tax returns.
The Times did not officially receive a copy of Trump's tax paperwork — as reporters were leaked the documents.
Cruz asked why the Post's Twitter account is still blocked, two weeks after Twitter changed its policy.
Dorsey said that the Post — which claims Twitter is holding their account hostage" — just has to delete the original tweet that contains a link to their first report.
"They have to log in to their account," Dorsey said, and delete the original tweet that goes against the so-called hack policy.
Then, "the New York Post would be allowed to tweet again."
He explained that the Post can tweet "the exact same material from the exact same article" if they were to log in again,.
Cruz questioned why media outlets can get censored for sharing their reporting online.
"Every account on Twitter agrees to terms of service," Dorsey said. "We recognized an error in this policy, specifically the enforcement."
Dorsey is one of three Big Tech leaders — in addition to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google's Sundar Pichai — who are testifying before the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday.
In their opening statements on Wednesday, Dorsey, Zuckerberg, and Pichai addressed the proposals for changes to so-called Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to the Senate Commerce Committee.
The provision of a 1996 law protects companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google from liability over content that's posted online by users and the qualification of the content as "free speech."
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