Senate panel grills Facebook, Twitter, Google about content policies

The Chief Executive Officers for Facebook, Twitter and Google were grilled by a Senate panel Wednesday about how they monitor content on their online platforms.

The discussion was centered on what’s known as Section 230, which protects online companies from being held legally responsible for what users say or do.

“We are committed to keeping your information safe,” said Sundar Pichai, Alphabet Inc., Google CEO.

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“We don’t always get it right, but we try to be fair and consistent,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO.

The Republican-led committee accused the online platforms of censoring conservative views.

They pointed to Twitter blocking a New York Post story about Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden allegedly attempting to cash-in on his father’s previous role as Vice President.

“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?” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

“We’re not doing that and this is why I opened this hearing with calls for more transparency,” said Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO. “We realize we need to earn trust more.”

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Democrats accused Republicans of targeting the online companies so close to the election in an effort to help President Trump’s reelection campaign.

“What we are seeing today is an attempt to bully the CEOs of private companies into carrying out a hit job on a presidential candidate,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

All three companies urged Congress to keep Section 230 in place.

“It encourages free expression which is fundamentally important,” Zuckerberg said.

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Republicans called for changes to the law.

“The time has come for that free pass to end,” said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi).

The online companies have used Section 230 as a defense in court cases.