Ted Cruz Threatens To Force Facebook and Twitter Heads To Testify About Hunter Biden Article
Congress may compel Twitter and Facebook to answer for why they temporarily suppressed a New York Post article alleging corruption by Joe Biden’s son Hunter. The plan takes allegations about Twitter and Facebook’s alleged “censorship” to absurd new heights. In the name of sticking up for the First Amendment—which protects people from censorship and compelled speech by their government, not the other way around—and stopping bias, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee want to help compel the platforming of speech that could help their side.
Trying to suppress the Post article may have been a dumb call by Twitter and Facebook. However, the First Amendment does not prohibit private companies from abridging speech. And the government can only compel a private individual or group to help platform a particular message in very limited circumstances.
That’s a limited government principle that Republicans champion when it comes to speech they don’t like—for instance, in a case where crisis pregnancy centers were compelled by California to post messages with information about accessing abortion services. The state said this was simply neutral information and patients at these centers could do with it what they wanted. But the crisis pregnancy centers (and many Republicans) argued that this infringed on their First Amendment rights, and the Supreme Court agreed.
Alas, these days, Republicans frequently espouse a desire to compel or coerce social media companies into sharing certain messages. Hence the current move to make Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg face a full Senate Judiciary Committee inquiry over why, for a short period, they limited distribution of a story making questionable but damning claims about the Democratic presidential candidate and his son.
At least some people seem to be thinking twice about this, thank goodness. “The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday postponed plans to vote on subpoenas to compel the CEOs of Twitter and Facebook to testify on allegations of anti-conservative bias after some panel Republicans expressed reservation about the maneuver,” reports Politico:
The panel announced Monday it will now consider whether to authorize the subpoenas at a high-profile executive session Thursday where it is separately expected to app
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