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Republican senators vote to subpoena Facebook, Twitter CEOs

Republican senators vote to subpoena Facebook, Twitter CEOs
Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans voted Thursday to authorize a subpoena for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify about alleged censorship. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to authorize subpoenas for Facebook and Twitter CEOS to testify before the committee regarding alleged censorship.

The Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans unanimously voted 12-0 in a roll call vote in favor of the subpoenas for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to testify before the committee about alleged censorship of recent articles in the conservative-leaning New York Post.

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Facebook signaled the unverified New York Post article about former Vice President Joe Biden's son was subject to third-party fact checking and Twitter banned linking to the story altogether. The restrictions came amid some staff members of The New York Post having concerns themselves about the reliability and campaign timing of a front-page article about Hunter Biden authored mostly by a staff reporter who refused to put his name on it, two Post employees told the New York Times.

According to the motion of Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., to authorize the subpoenas, the CEOs are to testify about "the suppression and/or censorship," of the two recent New York Post articles. It noted that they were titled "Smoking-gun emails reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad," and "Emails reveal How Hunter Biden tried to cash in big on behalf of family and Chinese firm."

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Zuckerberg, Dorsey and Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google's parent company Alphabet, were already slated to testify before the Senate Commerce committee next Wednesday about whether Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act should be changed, amid allegations of anti-conservative bias on platforms.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, R- Texas, accused Twitter and Facebook in a statement earlier this month of "actively interfering in the election in a way that has no precedent in the history of our country."

Along with testifying about the New York Post articles, Zuckerberg and Dorsey are also compelled to testify about any other content moderation policies that may interfere or influence elections, or any other recent determinations to halt distribution of information pending fact-checking, according to a motion Republicans on the committee approved Thursday. All the Democrats on the committee had boycotted the meeting, leaving images of people who have been helped by the Affordable Care Act, in protest of another committee vote held earlier on the same day on the Supreme Court nominee.

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Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans also voted unanimously Thursday to advance the vote on Judge Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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