WASHINGTON — Senator Ted Cruz on Wednesday tore into Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey over what he claimed was an anti-Conservative bias on his company’s social media platform.
During an often heated hearing with big tech titans Facebook, Twitter and Google, Cruz, (R)- Calif., called Twitter “a dire threat to free speech in America.”
Grilling Dorsey over Twitter’s decision to block the posting and sharing of a recent New York Post report that made corruption allegations against Joe Biden, Cruz demanded to know what gave Dorsey the right to do so.
“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?” Cruz asked.
In response, Dorsey stated, “We’re not.”
“You’re testifying to this committee right now that Twitter,” Cruz said, “when it silences people, when it censors people, when it blocks political speech, that has no impact on elections?”
“People have choice of other communication channels,” Dorsey responded.
“Not if they don’t hear information,” Cruz countered. “If you don’t think you have the power to influence elections, why do you block anything?”
“Your position is you can sit in Silicon Valley and demand of the media, that you can tell them what stories they can publish, you can tell the American people what reporting they can hear?” he said. “Is that right?”
“No,” Dorsey responded. “Every person, every account, every organization that signed up to Twitter, agrees to a terms of service.”
“So media outlets must genuflect and obey your dictates if they wish to be able to communicate with readers,” Cruz shot back.
“Not at all,” Dorsey said.
Later in the hearing, Sen. Ron Johnson, (R)-Wis., challenged Dorsey’s claim that Twitter does not attempt to influence elections with their policies and actions. He , too, challenged 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.
Throughout the hearing, executives for Facebook, Twitter and Google claimed they have no slant against conservatives and have never targeted conservative users or pages for their political beliefs.