Facebook, Twitter, Google -- Senate Committee Votes to Subpoena Tech CEOs

Facebook and Twitter logos are seen on a shop window in Malaga, Spain, June 4, 2018. (Jon Nazca/Reuters)

The CEOs of Facebook and Twitter will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on November 17, the panel announced Friday, after both social-media platforms worked to limit the spread of the New York Post‘s report on emails purportedly from Hunter Biden’s laptop.

“The hearing will focus on the platforms’ censorship and suppression of New York Post articles and provide a valuable opportunity to review the companies’ handling of the 2020 election,” said committee chairman Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.).

The committee voted 12-0 Thursday to subpoena Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey. Democrats on the panel had boycotted the vote in protest of the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Both CEOs later voluntarily agreed to testify before the panel.

A New York Post report last week detailed emails which suggest Hunter Biden may have made an introduction between his father, then–Vice President Joe Biden, and a Ukrainian adviser to Burisma Holdings in 2015. The documents were reportedly recovered from a laptop computer that was dropped off at a repair shop in Delaware in April 2019 but never retrieved.

Shortly after the article’s publication, a Facebook spokesman announced that the platform would “reduce distribution” on its platform pending a fact-check. Twitter prevented users from linking to the article, citing its “hacked materials policy,” and locked the Post out of its account.

Dorsey later said that Twitter had mishandled the situation, saying it was “unacceptable” to block the article without providing the reason why it was doing so.

Zuckerberg, Dorsey, and Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai are also set to testify before the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday regarding content moderation, data privacy, and media consolidation.

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