There’s a lot on tap for Section 230 of the the 1996 Communications Decency Act this week in Washington following the New York Post‘s Hunter Biden report that quickly became nearly impossible to share on Twitter and Facebook thanks to those entities’ efforts to effectively censor it.
Initially, the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), had indicated an intent to vote Tuesday on whether or not to subpoena Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, to discuss their moves to keep the Post‘s story from circulating. That vote has been delayed to Thursday and will now become part of an executive session that will also include approval of SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett and an introduction and markup of Graham’s new bill, Online Content Policy Modernization Act.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is expecting both Dorsey and Zuckerberg to testify whether they volunteer or are compelled by a subpoena.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who chairs Judiciary’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, told reporters he’s expecting the committee to hear testimony from both Dorsey and Zuckerberg “shortly” whether they come willingly or not.
“One way or another, either voluntarily or pursuant to subpoena, they will testify and they will testify before the election,” Cruz said.
Zuckerberg and Dorsey are separately slated to testify alongside Google CEO Sundar Pichai next Wednesday for a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the internet industry’s prized liability protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Cruz, who sits on both Judiciary and Commerce, said he believes each panel should hold their own hearing with the tech CEOs ahead of Nov. 3. “I believe we need a separate hearing in Judiciary because the issues being discussed in the two committees are different,” Cruz said.
Ironically, the story was ultimately shared quite successfully, as reported by the Post Tuesday, despite efforts by Big Tech to censor its reach.
Twitter and Facebook’s censorship of The Post’s exposé about Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine propelled the story to the top of those platforms last week, according to a report Tuesday.
The story generated 2.59 million interactions (likes, comments and shares) on Facebook and Twitter — more than double the next-biggest story about President Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden, Axios reported, citing data analyzed by NewsWhip.
Stories about Hunter Biden, the reactions and how social media responded were five of the 10 biggest stories.
The debate over Section 230 centers around whether social media companies should be allowed protections under the law despite moderating some content and limiting its reach, possibly as a result of political bias. The censored Hunter Biden story was a bombshell expose on the Biden family’s influence peddling for millions of dollars in personal wealth in nations such as Ukraine and China.