Zuckerberg and Dorsey Face Harsh Questioning From Lawmakers

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Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook answered most of the legislators' questions.

Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook answered most of the legislators’ questions. A loan… A picture of Hannah McKay by the pool.

The Senate Judiciary Committee closed its hearings with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey after more than four hours and 127 questions on Tuesday.

The New York Times looked at every subject. That’s what we found.

Republicans dominated and asked most questions about content moderation.

Republicans asked 72 questions to their leaders, 53 of them about the way they moderate the content of their social networks. Republican senators paid particular attention to the question of how Twitter and Facebook could use less moderate methods and asked 37 questions about the censorship of conservative votes and the ideological composition of their staff.

Democrats asked 14 questions about moderation, but most of them focused on whether greater moderation could help prevent the spread of hate speech and violence.

Other subjects received little attention.

After restraint on content, the legislator asked most of the questions about misinformation: 39 questions about spreading misinformation on social media platforms. Democrats have defended 37 of these demands, often invoking false statements by President Trump about the falsification of the presidential election results.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, briefed Mr Dorsey and Mr Zuckerberg on competition law issues. Senator Lindsay Graham, Republican from South Carolina, asked if Facebook and Twitter could be fun.

Mr Zuckerberg was questioned most frequently.

Mr Zuckerberg sent most of the questions, 71, and Mr Dorsey received 56.

Graham, the committee’s chairman, asked 15 questions, most of which were asked by the senator, while Republicans Ted Cruise of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri asked 12 questions each.

Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, will interview Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday.

Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, will interview Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday. A loan… A picture of Bill Clarke in the pool.

During the hearing on social media and disinformation on Tuesday, much of the discussion focused on how Facebook and Twitter are moderating the billions of pieces of content regularly published on their networks.

The New York Times believes that both Democrats and Republicans have dropped the issue. Of the 127 questions, more than half – 67 – related to substantive moderation. Democrats asked 12 questions about how Facebook and Twitter could increase their moderation on issues such as hate speech, while Republicans asked 37 questions about why certain views are censored online and how content moderation could be reduced in certain areas, according to calculations. (The other questions about content moderation did not show a clear desire for more or less moderation).

In particular, Republican senators such as Josh Hawley of Missouri, Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruise of Texas focused on the unproven idea that Facebook and Twitter were moderating conservative messages in a way that was inappropriate for the amount of time Liberals spent marking or deleting recordings.

The abstention of conservative Americans has been repeated in recent weeks, with dozens of people saying they would leave Facebook and Twitter for more permissive platforms such as Talk, Rumble and MeWe. Facebook and Twitter claim that political involvement has nothing to do with the way they enforce their rules.

On the other side of the aisle, the Democrats have said that companies do not go far enough to moderate harmful content. Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, said the Facebook account of Steve Bannon, President Trump’s strategist, has not been closed, despite Bannon’s recent proposal to behead Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease specialist.

Zuckerberg said that his account was on strike and that the position had been deleted, but that Facebook policy does not require an immediate suspension of his account. However, Twitter has blocked the account forever.

Republicans and Democrats agreed that Facebook and Twitter were inconsistent in their policies, often without explaining the actions they had taken.

We need more information about what happened and what led to some results, said Senator Tom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican who commented that one of his Facebook posts on Veterans’ Day was moderated without a clear explanation of the reasons.

Mr Zuckerberg and Mr Dorsey agreed that the reform should be reviewed in order to moderate its content. Zuckerberg proposed a new set of rules that could include content mitigation on many major technology platforms. Dorsey said his goal is to provide users with more tools to control the content they see, perhaps using algorithms tailored to their individual preferences.

The centralized moderation system for global content is not scalable, Dorsey said.

Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, said the company would no longer make political exceptions for Mr Trump after he resigned in January.

Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, said the company would not make any more political exceptions on Mr. Trump’s account after he resigned in January…. Erin Schaff/New York Times.

Many world leaders tend to have more space on Twitter and Facebook because their comments and messages are considered public policy discourse. But what happens to President Trump’s social media accounts when he leaves his office?

At a hearing on Tuesday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said the company would not make any more political exceptions for Mr. Trump after he left his office in January. Trump’s tenure as world leader has allowed him to post content on Twitter that violates its rules, although he started tagging some of his tweets in May to show that the messages were controversial or violent.

If the score suddenly ceases to be a world leader, this particular policy disappears, Dorsey said.

On the contrary, Mr Zuckerberg stated at the hearing that Facebook would not change Mr Trump’s position when he left. After election day, Facebook noticed several messages from Mr Trump and provided users with accurate information about the election results, but generally uses a manual approach. Facebook does not check the world leaders, but can check the facts after the end of his term as president.

Most Twitter users must comply with many rules, including the prohibition of threats, harassment, identity changes and copyright infringement. If someone breaks the rules, they are often asked to remove or temporarily forbid the offending tweet.

The most important function of our department is to provide a place where people can respond openly and publicly to their leaders and hold them to account, according to a spokesperson for Twitter. In this context, there are certain cases where it may be in the public interest to access certain tweets, even if they would otherwise be contrary to our rules.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified remotely Tuesday.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified remotely Tuesday. A loan… Reuters…

Jack Dorsey defended the policy of moderation on Twitter against Republican and Democratic attacks and urged lawmakers to focus instead on monitoring algorithms that help moderate and recommend content.

Senators have pressured Dorsey to add labels to false and misleading election-related Twitter posts, which Republicans say are biased against Conservatives, while Democrats say they have not gone far enough to verify misinformation. Mr Dorsey, who had practically attended the hearing from the kitchen, had resisted the urge to get carried away in a debate with legislators.

As at the hearing three weeks ago, Mr Dorsey defended the tweet tactic, admitting that in some cases the company had mistakenly tweeted, which was not contrary to the company’s guidelines. The task of moderation is incredibly difficult, Dorsey said.

We’re facing something that seems impossible, Mr. Dorsey said. We must contribute to improving public dialogue while ensuring that as many people as possible can participate.

He continued to encourage the Honorable Senators to focus on Section 230 reforms that would allow for better control of the algorithms. According to Dorsey, algorithms should be a top priority for the legislator and users should have the choice to switch them off or opt for alternatives.

Article 230 has created so much friendliness and innovation. If we hadn’t had this kind of protection when we launched Twitter 14 years ago, we wouldn’t have been able to start, Dorsey said. I think we need to draw a line around the problem we’re trying to solve.

In the middle of the hearing, Mr Dorsey was confronted, according to the New York Times, with a number of additional questions that Mark Zuckerberg had to answer.

Dorsey was investigated in particular by Senator Diane Feinstein, a Democrat in California, and Senator Ted Cruise, a Republican in Texas. Feinstein argued that Twitter should have taken more direct action against President Trump’s tweets, which contained unfounded allegations of electoral fraud, while Cruz insisted that Twitter had crossed the threshold of moderation.

Democrats showed no sign of criticism of Facebook and Twitter during the hearings, despite increased efforts by the business community to combat misinformation during the recent elections.

Instead, several democratic members accused Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook and Jack Dorsey on Twitter of spreading hate-mongering speeches and misinformation about the post-election elections. They referred to comments on Facebook by Steve Bannon, former senior advisor to President Trump, who called for the beheading of Dr. Anthony Fauci, as well as to Facebook posts and groups spreading false conspiracy theories about election fraud.

I think you can and should do better, said Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont.

Democratic legislators have called for many laws aimed at the technology sector.

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal advocated stronger privacy laws, legislative changes that provide companies with legal protection for user-generated content, and stronger antitrust measures.

They created terrifying instruments of persuasion and manipulation – with a power far greater than that of the predators of the last Golden Age, Blumenthal said. They have made huge amounts of money by collecting data about our private lives and encouraging hate speech and oppression of voters.

Calls for change could anticipate the Silicon Valley legislative agenda in the next Congress. Republicans have also called for a reform of the legal protection platforms for the freedom of expression of third parties, known as Section 230 of the Decency in Communications Act.

Several members of the Democratic Party spoke about calls for violence and protests on business platforms after the elections. Some Pro Trump groups have organized themselves on Facebook, for example to stop counting the votes in some states before deleting the groups.

What are your concerns about the spread of false information, such as Trump’s statements about the election, that could provoke violence? Mrs. Feinstein asked.

Mr. Zuckerberg promised to be vigilant.

This is of great importance to me, especially when there is misinformation that can lead to a period of instability such as this violence, according to Zuckerberg.

Lindsay Graham, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Lindsay Graham, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. A loan… A picture of Bill Clarke in the pool.

Members of the Republican Committee attacked the power of social media companies to soften the content of their platforms and accused them of making politically bizarre calls while hiding behind a liability shield that had been in place for decades.

I don’t want the government to take responsibility for telling America that tweets are legal and not, said Senator Lindsay Graham, chairman of the South Carolina committee. But if you have companies that have the power of the government, that have much more power than the traditional media, then you have to give something.

President Trump and his allies have been attacking Silicon Valley platforms for years claiming to be biased against the conservatives, pointing to liberal labor policies and cases of moderation that have influenced Republicans or conservative media. The evidence for these accusations has always been anecdotal, and many right-wing supporters have found many followers on the Internet.

Mr Zuckerberg and Mr Dorsey said that their companies sometimes make mistakes, but that their policy is fair and in the interest of users.

Republicans spent most of their time making individual business decisions. Graham made an exception to the fact that Twitter and Facebook had initially stopped paying attention to the New York story about Hunter Biden, son of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. The article prompted the Committee to ask the directors of both companies to testify.

I believe you’re the editor, Mr. Graham.

Their comments reflect how Conservatives increasingly attacked companies for the way they led the fragmented post-presidency when President Trump refused to resign despite Mr. Biden’s strong leadership.

Graham questioned Twitter’s decision to tweet about Republican politics as a controversial statement about election fraud. Senator Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, said one of his Facebook posts about the election had a platform.

Now, this kind of problem could be out of the ordinary in Palo Alto, said Lee, referring to the city of the Silicon Valley near the headquarters of Facebook. But in the rest of America, they haven’t left the mainstream.

Article 230 of the Decent Communication Act

Article 230 of the Decent Communication Act

The law on the legal protection of online platforms – article 230 of the law on morality in communications – has long been mentioned by the legislator as a possible reform objective.

President Trump signed an executive order to terminate the law in May. And legal protection, which largely protects technology companies from liability for what their users publish, has been the subject of other congressional hearings.

However, the debate on Article 230 gave rise to a minimum of specific discussions. At last month’s hearing with social media leaders there was little substantive debate and few proposals for legislative reform.

Not Tuesday. At the session of the Senate Commission for the Judiciary with Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook and Jack Dorsey on Twitter, legislators approached article 230 differently. They started with an impartial call to change the goose that lays the golden egg and focused on legislation that is likely to be the focus of the next convention.

Senator Lindsay Graham, Republican of South Carolina and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, opened the hearing by directly addressing the issue of legal protection.

We need to find a way for Twitter and Facebook to decide what is safe and what is not, what is safe and what is not, what is transparent, Graham said. Section 230 has to be changed, because we can’t get out of it without changes.

Republicans have referred to the law as a stool for online platforms to censor conservative content, accusations that are unfounded. Democrats agreed on the need to reform the law, but took the opposite view on the reason for the reform. Democrats have stated that Article 230 causes disinformation and hatred in social networks.

There will be a change. No questions asked. And I plan to bring aggressive reform to 230, Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, said in his introductory remarks.

Mr Blumenthal was one of the main supporters of the first reform of Article 230 in 2018, making the platforms responsible for the deliberate publication of the content of the trafficking for sexual exploitation.

But he tried to distance himself from republican reservations about censorship.

But I’m not, and we on this committee shouldn’t be interested in being part of the language police, Blumenthal said.

Mr Zuckerberg and Mr Dorsey stated that they were open to certain legislative reforms. Zuckerberg added that he saw a reform in which companies had to be more transparent. None of the officials developed it, but M. Dorsey’s Twitter account includes support for transparency reforms, the ability to invoke mitigation decisions, and the choice of users of algorithms that dictate the content they see.

The call for 1) publication of the process and practice of moderation, 2) a simple process for challenging decisions, and 3) maximum effort in the algorithmic selection are suggestions for solving the problems we will all have in the future. And they’ll all be available as soon as possible.

– Jack (@Jack) 17. November 2020

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, and Jack Dorsey, head of Twitter, address the members of the Senate Committee of the judiciary to defend the actions of their companies as moderators of the speech. This is the second time in two months that the two CEOs have testified, but it will probably be more fireworks than their last appearance, as their companies played a central role in the recent elections.

They are likely to face many questions about how their social networks deal with messages, videos and photos related to the mood. Both companies have intensified their disinformation campaigns, including those of President Trump, while clandestine and misleading content has increased dramatically.

Commission chairman Lindsay Graham of South Carolina called a hearing in October following a Twitter and Facebook article in the New York Post about Hunter Biden, son of President-elect Joseph R., who appeared in the New York Post. Biden, Jr. revealed that information had been leaked and that it was misleading.

The Heads of State and Government, who in recent years have repeatedly expressed their views in Congress on data protection, disinformation in the 2016 elections and content moderation, face new questions, including whether maintaining the ban on political advertising could jeopardise the second round of the Georgian Senate elections and why the content of hate is still allowed on their websites.

President Trump and his Republican allies tricked Twitter and Facebook into repeatedly posting and hiding presidential messages for violating policies against the dissemination of false and misleading election information. Twitter was mainly active in tagging Mr. Trump’s tweets on election day and a few days later.

Meanwhile, Democrats say Facebook and Twitter have been too weak on misinformation and hate speech, allowing people like Steve Bannon, who recently called the beheading of Dr. Anthony Fauci, to save his Facebook account. They will also highlight the increase in anti-Muslim content on Facebook and the emergence of hate content on social networks.

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