Facebook and Twitter CEOs will respond to the Senate after reducing the delivery of New York Post articles

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Square co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey.

Getty Images | CNBC

Facebook and Twitter are usually too slow and enthusiastic to reduce the spread of harmful and false information. But on Wednesday, the two companies acted surprisingly quickly, claiming that they contained “smoking gun” emails related to Democratic candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, unconfirmed New York. Restricted the distribution of post reports.

The timing of decisions is nothing more than a company. Both CEOs agreed to testify to the Senate Trade Commission in just two weeks on October 28, less than a week on election day. The hearing was already expected to be filled with questions about the platform’s alleged prejudice against conservatives. If the Commission does not approve the subpoena, the CEO simply unanimously approves it and then agrees to voluntarily summon it.

However, the risk of flattening the discussion is that Facebook and Twitter have very different reasons and used very different methods to reduce the distribution of posted articles.

The reason Twitter stated was more technical in nature, and the method was more destructive to individual users. Facebook’s reason was more clearly related to election policy, but the method was more subtle for casual users.

Twitter quotes Hacked material And Personal information policy A link to the original post as a reason why users can’t post or share even a private direct message. The post claimed that the source of the unconfirmed story was a laptop that the owner of the Delaware repair shop believed to belong to Hunter Biden. When no one picked up the drive, the owner allegedly made a copy of the hard drive, handed it to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s attorney, and then handed the original drive to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I will. Post said he later obtained a copy from Giuliani.

Twitter claimed that the link violated the policy because the material in the report, including photos from the allegedly copied hard drive, appeared to contain hacked material. This article also included an unedited copy of the message, which was supposed to be the email addresses of Hunter Biden and two others. Sharing a private personal email address also violates Twitter policy.

Users can share articles that comment on articles that do not contain allegedly hacked or personal information. Republican Rep. Jim Jordan posted a copy of the article on his website and posted it on the Republican House Judiciary Committee’s Twitter account. That version of the article did not include images or unedited email addresses allegedly taken from the hard drive. Twitter left the link as of Thursday morning.

However, CEO Jack Dorsey said in a tweet late Wednesday that communication about Twitter’s behavior was “unacceptable.”

Twitter shared a thread explaining the reasons for the decision Wednesday night, saying “I don’t want to encourage hacking by making Twitter available for distribution of potentially illegally obtained material.” It was.

Facebook said it didn’t prevent users from sharing links to articles, but reduced distribution until fact-checking reviews were conducted. Facebook spokesman Andy Stone first published a fact-check review hours after the article was first published on Wednesday, but as of Thursday morning, more than 24 hours have passed since it was first posted on Facebook. However, there was nothing in the Facebook post containing the link yet. A label indicating that it was under review.

Stone wrote on Twitter that the review was “part of the standard process for reducing the spread of false information” and included a link to Facebook’s election integrity policy. On that page, Facebook states that it is committed to combating foreign interference, increasing transparency and reducing false information. Facebook says it will include a “clearer fact check label” in its blog posts as part of its efforts to reduce false information.

Damn if they do, damn if they don’t

In many content moderations, Facebook and Twitter are hated if they do, and hated otherwise. Democrats have blamed the platform in the past for decisions not to remove or label doctors or misleading information on their sites.For example, both platforms He refused to remove the edited video posted by President Donald Trump showing that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is ripping Trump’s State of the Union address. The edited video made her appear to rip the page after a positive moment in the speech, such as when Trump salutes Tuskegee Airmen, but in reality she did so only at the end of the speech.

But at least just as often, the platform has been criticized by Republicans such as Jordan and Senator Josh Hawley, Missouri, who suspect that they are tampering with algorithms and policies against conservatives. Facebook and Twitter have repeatedly denied this, and the report shows a conservative view. Achieve a wide range in many cases On the platform.

Senator Ted Cruz, R-Tx. Lindsey Graham, RS.C., Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. He told reporters on Tuesday that the Commission would vote on whether to summon Dorsey for a hearing in front of the Commission next Friday. Hurley added that the committee wants to consider Zuckerberg’s subpoena as well.

In an interview on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” Thursday, Cruz, a member of the Commerce Commission, said Twitter’s actions the other day “showed dramatic escalations and crossed new boundaries.” He argued that blocking the article was equivalent to “election interference,” and questioned Twitter’s protection of liability under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

When the Commerce Commission resolved to approve the CEO’s subpoena earlier this month, ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) Said, “Atrophy to ongoing individuals,” in agreeing to do so. I don’t want to see the effect. ” About trying to crack down on false information about hate speech and Covid during a pandemic. ”It is now almost inevitable that Republicans of the Commission will beat both CEOs for their moderation process. Seems to be.

Andrew Bates, a spokesman for the Biden campaign, responded to the New York Post’s story:

“Even investigations by two committees, the media, impeachment, and the Republican-led Senate Committee, were accused of being” illegal “and political by Republican colleagues, but all came to the same conclusion. Reached. Officials in the Trump administration have proved these facts under an oath. “

“The New York Post has never asked the Biden campaign about a key element of the story,” he added. “They certainly never argued that Rudy Giuliani, whose untrustworthy conspiracy theory and alliance with persons associated with Russian intelligence, had been widely reported, had such material. There wasn’t.

“In addition, we reviewed Joe Biden’s official schedule from that time, but no meetings have ever been held as the New York Post claims.”

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Facebook and Twitter CEOs will respond to the Senate after reducing the delivery of New York Post articles

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