Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) slammed Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey over its company abuse of slapping disclaimer labels on tweets posted by conservatives regarding the subject of voter fraud, saying the platform is “behaving as a publisher” while being protected with its “special benefit under Section 230.”
The heated exchange during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing over the social media giants handling of election information began when Cruz asked Dorsey if he was an “expert in voter fraud,” to which the CEO admitted, “No, I’m not”
“Well, why, then, is Twitter right now putting purported warnings on virtually any statement about voter fraud?” Cruz responded.
“We’re simply linking to a broader conversation so that people have more information,” Dorsey replied, explaining the warning labels placed includes fact check links and articles as the reason for disputing the tweet, many of which are currently slapped on President Trump tweets over the last three weeks.
From the week before Election Day (Oct 27) to November 11, Twitter labeled over 300,000 tweets relating to the 2020 Election, with 50 of those tweets or retweeted were from Trump. Out of the 300,000 labels, 456 tweets were shielded with labels that required the reader to click through in order to read the post.
The label on tweets is read with a disclaimer “This claim about election fraud is disputed,” giving an explanation that claims “experts and officials said there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 US elections… according to The Associated Press and Reuters.” It also provides tweets of articles from The Associated Press, NBC News, NY Times, and USA Today stating that “multiple fact-checkers report there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the US.”
The Texas Senator quickly rebuffed Dorsey’s explanation.
“No, you’re not. You put up a page that says, ‘Voter fraud of any kind is exceedingly rare in the United States.’ That’s not linking to a broader conversation,” Cruz said. “That’s taking a disputed policy position and you’re a publisher when you’re doing that. You’re entitled to take a policy position, but you don’t get to pretend you’re not a publisher and get a special benefit under Section 230 as a result.”
Section 230, according to Cruz “defines an information content provider as anything that any person or entity that is responsible in whole or in part for the creation or development of information provided through the internet or any other interactive computer service.”
Cruz warned the Twitter CEO he will test the platform with a series of tweets on the issue of voter fraud to see if they would label or censor the post after asking Dorsey if he was aware of the subjects.
Twitter Test #1: ‘Absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.’https://t.co/WUjVv3n1Aa— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 17, 2020
Twitter Test #2: Voter fraud is particularly possible where ‘third party organizations, candidates, and political party activists’ are involved in ‘handling absentee ballots.’https://t.co/WUjVv3n1Aa— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 17, 2020
Twitter Test #3: Voter fraud does exist. This is just one example.https://t.co/KmyErGbPAN— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 17, 2020
Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg were called in to testify after their companies came under a firestorm of criticism for its decisions to restrict the distribution of a New York Post expose on Hunter Biden shady business dealings as well as blocking the newspaper account from posting new tweets for over two week. The hearing saw Republicans informing the tech giants of their biased in primarily flagging conservatives post and censoring accounts, while Democrats decry the tech giants for not going far enough.