U.S. Senator Rick Scott says tech companies are “acting like the Communist Party of China,” privileging the musings of the world’s worst dictators over those on the American right.
“You know there’s no recourse,” Scott said, on behalf of conservatives de-platformed by social media outlets. “If you get your Twitter account blocked, your Facebook eliminated, there is no recourse.”
Though some have contended that Twitter and Facebook, as private companies, have the right to determine terms of service, Scott joins many Republicans in rejecting that “completely disingenuous” narrative.
“They completely misrepresent the facts,” Scott said, noting they “sit there and censor [Donald] Trump, Press Secretary Kayleigh [McEnany], the Susan B. Anthony List,” but “if you’re the Ayatollah of Iran talking about eliminating Israel, that’s OK.”
“Maduro bragging about violence against protesters in Venezuela, that’s OK. The Chinese government lying about what’s happened to the Uyghurs, that’s OK,” Scott said.
“They’re completely disingenuous. They have a different standard for conservatives and a different standard for dictators. It’s ridiculous.”
Scott said, regarding the Section 230 protections that treat social media as an open forum rather than a publisher, promised revision, saying “something’s going to happen, something’s going to change” on that front.
Indeed, that seemed to be the mood of the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday, when Scott and empaneled colleagues interrogated CEOs from Twitter, Google, and Facebook.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, perceived by Republicans as gaming the 2020 Election with content dissemination decisions, took fire from Republicans, with Scott among the last speakers in a nearly four-hour hearing of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
“It’s becoming obvious that your companies are unfairly targeting conservatives,” Scott said.
For Scott, like other Republicans, complaints about de-platforming conservatives came to a head when Facebook and Twitter suppressed distribution of a New York Post article where a former business associate of the Joe Biden family accused the Bidens of cutting backchannel deals with a business linked to the Chinese Communist Party.
Twitter’s Dorsey was cool under fire from Scott, defending the medium’s policy regarding controversial tweets from American conservatives.
“You block Mitch McConnell and Trump’s tweets … here’s what I don’t get, you guys set up policies you don’t enforce consistently and [there’s] no recourse for the user,” Scott said.
“We look at the tweets, we review them, and we see if they violate our policy,” Dorsey countered. “We do have a global leader policy. We think it’s important that people see what those leaders are saying.”