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Facebook’s and Twitter’s CEOs, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, have voluntarily agreed to attend a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on November 17th. According to the committee’s announcement, the social media bigwigs will be there to testify on their “platforms’ censorship and suppression of New York Post articles.” The announcement comes a day after Republican Senators voted to subpoena the executives so they can respond to censorship accusations.
In mid-October, the social media platforms took action to limit the spread of a New York Post story that claimed to have obtained unflattering emails from the laptop of Joe Biden’s son. The publication provided little evidence for the claims made in the article, and at least one expert pointed out all the red flags that put the emails’ authenticity into question.
Facebook said at the time that it was reducing the story’s distribution until it had been reviewed by the company’s fact checking partners. A spokesperson explained that it’s “part of [the company’s] standard process to reduce the spread of misinformation.” Meanwhile, Twitter completely blocked the story’s URL from being shared via tweets and direct messages, citing its existing policies around hacked materials. The steps the platforms took reignited accusations that they have an anti—conservative political bias. As a result of the backlash, Twitter had to update its hacked materials policy and had to unblock the New York Post link.
In addition to discussing the companies’ response to the Post’s story, the committee will also take the chance to “review [their] handling of the 2020 election,” since the hearing is happening a couple of weeks after Election Day. Before the executives face the Senate to testify about news suppression, though, they first have to attend a hearing about Section 230 protections on October 28th.