This week executives from Facebook and Twitter–Google was disinvited over a dispute about whether it offered an executive senior enough to testify face off against the Republican-led Senate Judiciary subcommittee who charged the tech giants with being biased against conservatives– a charge they deny.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) who chairs the subcommittee, said that while no one wants “government speech police,” there are other remedies.
“If we have tech companies using the powers of monopoly to censor political speech, I think that raises real antitrust issues,” Cruz said at a U.S. Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Wednesday.
Utah Sen Mike Lee said that as far as he is concerned “We do have a political bias issue here.”
Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said she wanted “a social media marketplace that isn’t dominated by a single censor.”
Twitter’s public policy director, Carlos Monje told the subcommittee that the site “does not use political viewpoints, perspectives or party affiliation to make any decisions, whether related to automatically ranking content on our service or how we develop or enforce our rules.”
Neil Potts, Facebook’s public policy director said testified that the company “does not favor one political viewpoint over another, nor does Facebook suppress conservative speech.”
In a written statement submitted to the committee, Google said that it works to ensure “our products serve users of all viewpoints and remain politically neutral” but it acknowledged that “sometimes our content moderation systems do make mistakes.”
Three years ago Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg invited conservative leaders to meet in California to discuss their concerns about what they considered to be the platform’s bias against conservatives.
Last August Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted in an interview with CNN that employees “share a largely left-leaning bias” but denied that Twitter discriminates against conservatives.
But the disparity between how many conservatives versus liberals that are either placed in Facebook “jail” or “shadow banned” on Twitter for voicing the opinions is in direct contradiction to what Facebook and Twitter executives have said publicly about their platforms not censoring conservative viewpoints.