Both CEOs from Facebook and Twitter have received a subpoena from the senate committee. As reported by The Verge, this means Mark Zuckerburg and Jack Dorsey will have to testify before the end of the month.
Receiving a subpoena from government authority is not exactly a new phenomenon for big tech CEOs. Zuckerburg, Dorsey and Google’s Sundar Pichai were all subpoenaed by congress early this month. This concerned the infamous Section 230 which directly effects the big tech companies.
This specific battle between the senate and the big tech CEOs all boiled up in the middle of October. Republican senators wanted to subpoena Dorsey, in particular, over his actions against conservative material on their platforms.
It now looks as if Republican senators have got their wish with both Zuckerburg and Dorsey forced to testify. Achieving this did not seem to be much of a struggle with the vote passing unanimously through the committee.
Zuckerburg and Dorsey to testify in front of the senate
Tensions began building between both Twitter and Facebook as well as the Senate over story about Joe Biden which led for this desire for a subpoena.
The story alleges that Biden’s son introduced his father to an executive at the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. Trump has long attacked Biden for alleged links to Ukraine which until now have been largely unfounded.
The New York Post published this report which many have distanced themselves from as the report contains a number of unsubstantiated claims. As a result, Facebook marked the article for third-party fact-checking. Twitter went further, banning the story entirely.
Naturally, this anger Republican politicians who saw this as anti-conservative bias, something they have complained about for some time now. Tensions ran even higher give we are just days away from the U.S. election and this article was meant to deal a significant blow to Biden.
Ted Cruz described the actions of Twitter and Facebook as ‘election interference’. He also cited the phrase “serious allegations of corruption”.
Facebook and Twitter have declined to comment on the matter, probably preferring to do to their talking under oath. As mentioned both CEOs alongside Sundar Pichai already have a date to testify before the Commerce Committee on October 28th.
It is difficult to know what the upshot of either hearing may be. Social media companies find themselves in a hard position with many claiming they do not do enough to tackle fake news and misinformation whilst others claim bias when they do take action as has happened here.