Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) took Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to task over his company’s censorship policies and labeling election fraud news as disinformation.
During the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Cruz pressed Dorsey over whether he considered Twitter a publisher, which therefore wouldn’t fall under Section 230 protection.
“Is Twitter a publisher? No, we are not. We distribute information,” Dorsey said.
Asked by Cruz to define what a publisher was, Dorsey said: “An entity that is publishing under editorial guidelines and decisions.”
Cruz then noted that Twitter then became a publisher – by Dorsey’s own definition – when it censored the New York Post‘s Hunter Biden story last month but allowed the distribution of President Trump’s leaked tax returns obtained by the New York Times — despite the latter being a crime.
“In the New York Times case, we interpreted it as reporting about the hacked materials,” Dorsey said.
Cruz also pressed Dorsey about Twitter’s voter fraud disclaimers.
“Mr. Dorsey, does voter fraud exist?” Cruz asked.
“I don’t know for certain,” Dorsey said.
“Are you an expert on voter fraud?” Cruz asked.
“No I am not,” Dorsey said.
“Well, why then is Twitter right now putting purported warnings on virtually any statement about voter fraud?” Cruz asked.
Dorsey claimed the disclaimers are simply links to a “broader conversation”, despite the fact Twitter has labeled or removed over 50 of Trump’s tweets since Election Day.
“We’re simply linking to broader conversations that people have more information,” Dorsey said.
“No you’re not. You’ve put up a page that says ‘voter fraud of any kind is exceedingly rare in the United States,’” Cruz noted, holding up a printout of Twitter’s disclaimer. “That’s not linking to a broader conversation, that’s taking a disputed policy position, and you’re a publisher when you do that.”
“You’re entitled to take a policy position, but you don’t get to pretend you’re not a publisher and get a special benefit under Section 230 as a result,” he added.
In all, Dorsey said in his opening testimony that Twitter labeled 300,000 tweets related to election fraud since Oct. 27.
Cruz had previously hammered Dorsey during another Judiciary Committee hearing last month over Twitter’s censorship of the New York Post’s Hunter Biden story.
“So Mr. Dorsey, your ability is you have the power to force a media outlet – let’s be clear, The New York Post isn’t just some random guy tweeting,” Cruz said. “The New York Post has the fourth highest circulation of any newspaper in America. The New York Post is over 200 years old, founded by Alexander Hamilton. And your position is that you can sit in Silicon Valley and demand the media that you can tell them what stories they can publish and you can tell the American people what reporting they can hear.”
You can watch the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Big Tech hearing in full below:
Deanna Lorraine breaks down the hearings held for Big Tech and how Jack Dorsey lies.