Senator Rick Scott (R., Fla.) criticized Twitter during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday for flagging posts by President Trump and the New York Post but neglecting to do so for tweets by the dictators of Iran and Venezuela.
The Committee subpoenaed Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg after both platforms attempted to reduce circulation of a New York Post story on Hunter Biden’s influence peddling. Conservatives have criticized the social media platforms for alleged censorship of the Post article.
During the Wednesday hearing, Senator Scott questioned Dorsey regarding apparent inconsistencies in Twitter’s policy of flagging tweets for potentially inaccurate information.
Twitter initially flagged the Post‘s Hunter Biden story even though “the New York Post is one of the most circulated publications in the United States,” Scott said. “This isn’t some fringe media outlet filled with conspiracy theories. Yet you allow murderous dictators around the world to freely use your platform.”
Scott cited a tweet by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in which the ruler called for the “elimination of the Zionist regime,” as well as a tweet by Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro in which Maduro praised his country’s “glorious armed forces” following anti-regime protests in the country.
“We look at the tweets, we review them, and we figure out if they violate our policy or not,” Dorsey said in response. “We do have a global leader policy. We believe it’s important that people can see what those leaders are saying.” Dorsey said such tweets are eventually labeled as violating Twitter policy but are left on the platform, and maintained that policy is enforced “consistently.”
Scott also pointed out that Chinese propaganda outlets are allowed to post misinformation or outright lies on the platform, including denying the existence of mass reeducation camps for Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang Province. Both China and Iran tightly control which of their citizens are permitted to use Twitter, and the platform is effectively banned from operating in mainland China.