Thanks to Spineless, Establishment Republicans, Senate Panel Delays Vote to Subpoena Big Tech CEOs
America First nationalist’s hopes of having Big Tech CEOs testify before Congress about allegations of censorship directed towards the Right were temporarily dashed on October 19, 2020.
Politico reported that the Senate Judiciary Committee delayed plans to vote on subpoenas to force the CEOs of Twitter and Facebook to go before the Senate and be questioned about their anti-Right wing censorship policies.
Some Republicans ended up having cold feet and decided to postpone the vote much to the disappointment of right wing activists who have complained about Big Tech’s anti-free speech policies.
President Donald Trump and a number of nationalist Republicans have sharply criticized Facebook and Twitter over their censorship of a controversial New York Post report that exposed Hunter Biden, Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son, and his corrupt behavior.
Originally, GOP officials in the Judiciary Committee announced plans to hold a markup on October 20 to determine if they would subpoena Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to get his perspective on allegations concerning his company’s policies that muzzle conservative viewpoints. Twitter denies claims regarding Twitter’s censorship policies.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who is the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, revealed that the planned vote would also call on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify.
The panel stated on October 19 that it would determine whether they would issue subpoenas during a executive session on October 22 where it will also allegedly approve Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. The committee declared in a statement that it will maintain negotiations with the companies “to allow for voluntary testimony” by the CEO. However, if an agreement cannot be reached, the panel will proceed to take a vote on the subpoenas “at a date to be determined.”
The subpoenas would compel the tech big wigs to testify on the reports of “suppression and/or censorship” of New York Post stories and on “any other content moderation policies, practices, or actions that may interfere with or influence elections for federal office,” according to a committee document released on October 19.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who is the chair of the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on the Constitution said to reporters that he’s expecting the committee to preside over testimonies from the Twitter and Facebook chiefs “shortly” regardless of whether they come to the decision on their own volition.
“One way or another, either voluntarily or pursuant to subpoena, they will testify and they will testify before the election,” Cruz stated.
In a separate hearing for the Senate Commerce Committee, Zuckerberg and Dorsey will join Google CEO Sundar Pichai on October 28 for a hearing on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which generally shields Big Tech companies from a liability.
Cruz, who is a member of both Judiciary and Commerce committees, wants each panel to carry out their own hearings with the tech chiefs before election day. “I believe we need a separate hearing in Judiciary because the issues being discussed in the two committees are different,” Cruz remarked.
Big Tech has become too powerful, especially during a time when social media has become the de facto public square. Republicans will need to get serious about making online speech receive the same treatment as general political speech.