How Republicans have launched anti-right bias crusade in tech hearings - Business Insider

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Facebook and Twitter don't censor conservative content, but "those that are exploiting the spread of fake news are Republicans," one expert said.
Republican lawmakers have been using congressional hearings as an opportunity to grill the CEOs of tech companies whose online platforms, they allege, discriminate against conservative content.

At Tuesday's virtual Senate hearing featuring Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, Republican lawmakers like Sen. Ted Cruz once again questioned the execs on random examples of what they called anti-conservative bias.

As Media Matters for America president Angelo Carusone wrote for NBC News in October, many of the cherry-picked items that conservatives offer of censorship are usually "examples of individuals breaking the rules or not knowing how social media works."

Emma Ruby-Sachs, executive director of the consumer watchdog SumOfUs, told Business Insider that conservatives have successfully carved out robust networks online, posting content designed to spread "like wildfire" that breaks the rules put in place by tech platforms.

"It's not a tenet of the Republican party to create salacious conspiracy theories," Ruby-Sachs said. "It's just that those that are exploiting the spread of fake news are Republicans."

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The leaders of tech's biggest companies are becoming well acquainted with congressional hearings — hearings that are consistently devolving into theatrics as lawmakers politicize regulation of the industry.

Republicans typically use their time during the hearings to demand to know why tech platforms "censor" posts from President Donald Trump, intentionally silence voices on the right, and stifle free speech. These talking points have proven to be effective messaging for senators seeking election, as well as for expanding the Republican Party's reach online. Some senators have also questioned the political leanings of their employees and how that could influence their moderation decisions.

Democratic lawmakers have, in turn, used their time to scold their Republican colleagues for spouting such "baseless" claims…
Katie Canales
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