Technology policy

A Congressman Asked Mark Zuckerberg Why Facebook Censored Donald Trump Jr., but That Was Twitter

"I think you might be referring to what happened on Twitter."

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If members of Congress intend to smear the CEOs of various tech companies as censors, monopolists, and thieves, you might expect the politicians to at least keep their accusations straight. Alas, at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing Wednesday, ranking Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R–Wis.) assailed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over something that happened not on Facebook, but on Twitter.

While Democratic congressmen mostly used their time to dubiously accuse Apple CEO Tim Cook, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos of competitive practices that hurt consumers, Republicans focused on alleged political bias against conservatives on social media sites. Rep. Jim Jordan (R–Ohio) rattled off a long list of such transgressions—several of which were genuinely troubling, though not the purview of the government.

When it was his turn to speak, Sensenbrenner brought up the very recent example of Donald Trump Jr.'s post about hydroxychloroquine getting taken down, and asked Zuckerberg to justify this move. But it was Twitter, not Facebook, that took such action against Trump Jr.

"I think you might be referring to what happened on Twitter," said Zuckerberg in response. Indeed, as Zuckerberg noted during the hearing, Facebook has "distinguished itself" by supporting free expression to a much greater degree than rival social media companies.

That's part of the reason why conservative calls to regulate social media for political bias seem so untethered from reality. There are some legitimate concerns about bias on the platforms, but Congress is not the correct authority to adjudicate them, and lawmakers who envision a role for government intervention on this front continue to embarrass themselves.

NEXT: California’s Attorney General Decides How Ballot Initiatives Are Summarized. He's Happy To Abuse This Power.

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  1. To be fair, Zuckerberg has lunch with Jack Dorsey, so I think it was a reasonable question.

    1. I basically make about $12,000-$18,000 a month online. It’s enough to comfortably replace my I was amazed how easy it was after I tried it . BVf This is what I’ve been doing old jobs income, especially considering I only work about 10-13 hours a week from home………..Cash Mony System

  2. Nice to have an article about Congress embarrassing itself while talking to Mike Zuckerberg.

    I wouldn’t mind a fairly tertiary mention of Congress embarrassing itself while talking to William Barr.

  3. I think he might think he’s a thing.

  4. An uninformed congresscritter who doesn’t know anything about what they are talking about?

    Knock me over with a feather.

    Overpaid, dumb motherfuckers. Both parties.

    1. yup…and grandstanding is the coin of their realm. ocasio cortez is the one that plays that card best, but you are correct, they all do it.

    2. Actually knowing who did what and making a public comment?
      He is protected by Congressional Immunity but he has shown his tru colors.
      An ignorant tool.

    3. “Overpaid, dumb motherfuckers. Both parties.”

      Exactly.

    4. Overpaid, dumb motherfuckers. Both parties.

      The number of fervent believers in Section 230’s emmaculate conception would probably astound you.

      1. “The number of fervent believers in Section 230’s emmaculate conception would probably astound you.”

        The extent of your idiocy no longer astounds me.

  5. “There are some legitimate concerns about bias on the platforms”

    Facebook/Twitter/etc can have whatever bias they want — they are a private platform that no one is entitled to use
    Sure they run the risk of alienating a large swath of their users, but that’s their choice.

    No one is clamoring for QAnon or reddit or 4chan or dailykos to not show bias….why are social media companies any different?

    There are no legitimate concerns about bias on a privately owned platform. Sure there’s lots of bullshit hand wringing and whining about it, but those concerns are not legitimate.

    1. If they want to have legal immunity they must decide if they are a common carrier or not.
      The phone company is not part of harassing or obscene calls.
      They are a common carrier.
      They do not make ANY attempt to ‘police’ what is said on their network.
      They CAN block numbers if a complaint is filed.
      But that is about it.

      1. I have no idea what you are talking about.

        They aren’t a common carrier. They dont provide Telecommunication services. They aren’t a public utility.

        They don’t have to decide anything, nor do they have any obligation to be objective or provide equal time (just like newspapers, blogs and any other content providers or aggregators)

        Why is Twitter/FaceBook different than Reason or FreeRepublic ?

        They already have legal immunity like every other website and ISP thanks to CDA section 230. Are you saying that FB/Twitter shouldn’t have immunity FreeRepublic and Reason should??

        1. They aren’t a common carrier. They dont provide Telecommunication services. They aren’t a public utility.

          Oh good, another, “I have no idea what you’re talking about? The coin is heads up, how can you possibly believe that it’s tails down?” moron.

          1. Oh, good, another idiotic response.
            Wanna sue the guy who owns a wall where people post stuff if he takes some of it down?

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  6. I suppose it’s only “turnabout is fair play” since we lump all congress critters together and can barely tell Team A from Team B.

    Or as someone famous said, Never interrupt your enemy when they are doing something stupid.

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  8. I stand with Zuckerberg against censorship.

    Period.

  9. I lost any remaining smidge of respect I might have still had for Congress (both parties) when they held hearings about steroids in baseball a decade or so ago. This is more of the same. The debt is now what? North of $25 trillion? They control the purse strings. And they are grilling Facebook about Twitter? Fuck these people. Seriously, these assholes are beneath contempt at this point.

  10. “Congress is not the correct authority to adjudicate them, and lawmakers who envision a role for government intervention on this front continue to embarrass themselves….”

    Are royalties due to Simon and Garfunkel for their song “Dangling Conversation”? C’mon Robby. Possibly the next article gives a hint to this mystery. It is related to reduced costs due to privatizing of outer space travel: what links debates of what if any restrictions should be put on the giant IT companies? I compare this to the seemingly inevitable colonization of Mars. Using current earthbound law and norms to guide these endeavors is absurd. Entirely new situations deserve entirely new considerations.

    Google, Facebook, and Twitter probably control as much information transmission (and manipulation) as every other entity on earth combined. I hazard a guess that nothing similiar has existed anywhere in our galaxy since the big bang. Applying cumulative lessons learned is naive and nostalgic at best. Likewise having legislators determine what is right for the biggest campaign contributors in history has a predetermined fate…how do you keep an idiot in suspense? I’ll tell you tomorrow!

    A varied and knowledgeable group (of character?) meant to determine actionable items seems appropriate…followed by a national referendum held on social media!

    1. Using current earthbound law and norms to guide these endeavors is absurd. Entirely new situations deserve entirely new considerations.

      Ever been at the point of a gun before or would that be a new situation for you? Want the rules of firearm safety and laws and consequences established before you find yourself at the end of a gun or after?

      Trust, authority, and legitimacy don’t change fundamental operating principles just because people happen to be on Mars any more than they would change if people happened to be on Antarctica or on any other Continent or under the ocean. The idea that Mars is a good place to experiment on never-before-seen command structures and interpersonal relations is laughably absurd.

      Google, Facebook, and Twitter motivate lots of data transmission but they don’t control nearly the most. The amount of information they transmit is reliant on the consumer.

      Your entire rant sounds like a 6 yr. old shouting “That’s not fair! That’s not how this works! I shouldn’t have to listen to you!” at their parents.

    2. Was there a point in that rambling pile of shit?

  11. go post the video to your facebook page.

    see what happens.

    1. Was there a point in that minimal pile of shit?

  12. Zuckerburg is our new Michael Jackson it appears. Frail and freakish and proof that extra oxygen damages the brains ability to reason. Of course, Mark is just a little eccentric and misunderstood – like all Pedophiles. Let’s hope he swiftly gets all the pain killers that stars of his caliber deserve so we can fight over his remains like civilized humans do.

    1. Strangely, your bullshit is bereft of any cites.
      Did you fuck chickens tonight? I’m sure you’ll be busted for bestiality for the exact same evidence you’ve provided for your erotic fantasies just above.
      Let’s hope you fuck off and die.

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