Jack Dorsey Tells Senate Twitter Has No Policy On Holocaust Denial
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey offered the eye-popping declaration Wednesday that Holocaust denial may be "misleading," but the social media giant does not "have a policy against that type of misleading information."
Speaking at a hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee, Dorsey appeared to contradict his own company's recently stated intention to in fact take down such statements. The company did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.
The hearing was called to look at whether Twitter, Facebook and Google were abusing their legal protection from lawsuits based on what their users post. Republicans who lead the committee were particularly focused on whether the tech titans were biased against conservatives and President Trump.
They were especially angry that Twitter had blocked tweets about a New York Post report involving purported emails obtained from the computer of Joe Biden's son, Hunter.
To prove Twitter has what committee chairman Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) called a "double standard," several Republicans contrasted Twitter temporary blocking of the Biden story with allowing Iran's leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to regularly threaten Israel and deny the Holocaust.
"It's strange to me that you've flagged the tweets from the president, but haven't hidden the ayatollah's tweets on Holocaust denial, or calls to wipe Israel off the map," said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).
Dorsey said that it was a mistake to block the Hunter Biden story, and that the policy against spreading hacked information was changed within a day to allow such a news story.
But he clarified that Twitter only has a limited policy against spreading falsehoods.
"We don't have a policy against misinformation," Dorsey said. "We have a policy against misinformation in three categories, which are manipulated media, public health -- specifically COVID -- and civic integrity, election interference and voter suppression. That is all."
He did not mention the policy announced by a Twitter spokesperson to Bloomberg earlier this month saying Holocaust denial would be blocked.
While Republicans repeatedly accused the platforms of favoring Biden and Democrats, Democrats said the point of holding the hearing so close to the election was to intimidate the companies from blocking misinformation that helps President Trump.
"The timing seems inexplicable except to game the ref, in effect," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). "What they're trying to do, namely, is to bully and browbeat these platforms."
"My Republican colleagues arranged this hearing just a week from Election Day for one specific reason, to make the last ditch case based on shoddy evidence that these companies are censoring conservative voices," said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), adding it "doesn't pass the smell test."
The hearing was focused on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Both Republicans and Democrats agree the law should be updated to better deal with the outsized influence of social media.
Dorsey, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google boss Sundar Pichai all insisted they were not biased, but said they were working on doing more to counteract harmful disinformation and improve transparency on what they do.