Posted by 11 April 2019
Facebook and Twitter came under fire during a Senate hearing this week. Some senators even floated ideas to impose more government oversight on these social media companies.
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, Chairman Ted Cruz and other Republicans grilled officials from Facebook and Twitter regarding what they perceive as anti-conservative bias. While saying they did not want to see the government begin regulating these companies, they did float ideas that would increase government oversight of the platforms or open the door for more lawsuits by users.
Likening these companies to public utilities or the “town square,” some Republican senators said that the government had a role to ensure that the companies were not discriminating against certain viewpoints. Bringing up instances that these senators said proved Twitter or Facebook removed conservative content, they said that the government may be needed to preserve fairness.
These companies, as well as Democrats on the committee, pushed back against the idea that conservatives faced systematic discrimination on social media. Democrats pressed the officials to do more to police their content, especially when it comes to hate speech.
Senator Cruz said that no one wanted the government to be the “speech police.” However, he did suggest that the federal government could apply antitrust law to larger social media companies. He also said that Congress could change the law to make the companies liable for users who post libelous content.
Do you think that the federal government should regulate social media companies? Do Facebook and Twitter discriminate against conservatives? Should these companies do more to police hate speech?