The Gloves are off! Ted Cruz, tells Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey "Who the hell elected you?"
Sen. Ted Cruz, tore into Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey during a hearing with the tech giants on Wednesday, accusing Dorsey and his platform of censoring reporting that reflected poorly on Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, saying at one point, "Who the hell elected you?"
Dorsey said this was due to a policy regarding hacked materials, because the stories were based on emails from Hunter Biden's purported laptop. Cruz asked, "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, and why do you persist in behaving as a Democratic super PAC silencing views to the contrary of your political beliefs?"
Dorsey denied the claims, and stated that this was not the case. He also denied that Twitter has the ability to influence elections, a claim that Cruz derided as "absurd."
Cruz said, “You’re testifying to this committee right now that Twitter, when it silences people, when it censors people, when it blocks political speech, that has no impact on elections?”
Dorsey said, “People have choice of other communication channels,”
“Not if they don’t hear information,” Cruz replyed. “If you don’t think you have the power to influence elections, why do you block anything?”
Dorsey says that his policies are “making sure more that voices on the platform are possible,” which is done by silencing abuse and harassment. He did admit that the policy under which the Post story was censored was flawed, and that other users should not have been blocked from sharing links to it. He claimed that individual users could now share the Post story.
Sen. Ron Johnson, argued Dorsey's claim that Twitter does not influence elections with their policies or actions. He also argued that the company's decision to censor the Post's reporting, as well as Facebook's decision to flag it.
"Do either one of you have any evidence that the New York Post story is part of Russian disinformation or that those emails aren't authentic?" Johnson asked Dorsey and Zuckerberg.
"We don't," Dorsey said. He then reiterated that they believed it violated their hacking policy, only for Johnson to point out that the emails were not hacked.
Zuckerberg said that Facebook relied on the FBI's intelligence and alerts that they provided that included a warning to be on the lookup for a leak and release of a trove of information. He acknowledged that the alert did not specifically say anything about information in the Post's reporting.
Zuckerberg claimed that Facebook did not censor the story, but that they did flag it for fact-checking and held it back during that process.
Lawmakers looking to strip those protections claim that by selectively censoring posts due to their content -- beyond typical terms of service prohibiting offensive or harassing statements -- the tech companies are taking an active approach akin to a publisher instead of merely providing a platform where individual users post whatever statements they