Republicans Try To Rope Twitter Into Antitrust Hearing

Partly due to Twitter’s recent security blunder, Republicans now want its CEO, Jack Dorsey, to participate in an antitrust hearing scheduled for next Monday. 

“We believe there is bipartisan interest to hear from Twitter about its power in the marketplace, its role in moderating content on its platform, and the causes for its recent highly publicized security breaches,” Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) wrote in a letter to Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y).

In the letter, Jordan also noted that Republicans wrote to Dorsey earlier this month to request information about Twitter’s content policies, but have yet to receive a response. 

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai were already scheduled to appear before the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee.

By most measures, Twitter is tiny compared to these tech giants. Yet the company still wields considerable power as the preferred platform for influential figures to quickly reach large audiences. 

Along with Facebook, Republicans have long taken issue with Twitter and what they consider to its liberally biased content policies.  

Unlike Facebook, however, Twitter recently decided to start labeling fals e statements tweeted by President Trump as “potentially misleading.”  

The decision came amid a growing backlash over Twitter’s unwillingness to police Trump’s more outrageous tweets.

Specifically, a chorus of critics took issue with Trump’s tweeting of baseless theories that MSNBC “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough murdered a woman in 2001.   

Just this week, Twitter also vowed to reduce the reach of QAnon -- a community of far-right conspiracy theorists known for its obsession with the “deep state,” and their belief that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and George Soros were once involved in child sex trafficking.

In response to Twitter’s new labeling policy, Trump signed an executive order designed to regulate speech on social platforms.

The order calls for the FCC to propose rules about when and how social media companies may edit content online without forfeiting their protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Section 230 protects social-media companies from legal liability for the material their users post.

Last year, in response to Twitter locking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign account, Republicans briefly pulled ad dollars from the platform.

More recently, conservative activists stated their intention to ask an appellate court to reconsider claims that Twitter, Facebook, Google, and Apple violated the First Amendment and antitrust laws by conspiring to suppress conservative views.

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