Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, sparred with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Tuesday over the social media platform’s handling of content mentioning allegations of voter fraud.
In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Dorsey said he was not an expert on voter fraud and told Mr. Cruz he was not certain whether voter fraud exists.
“Well, why then is Twitter putting purported warnings on virtually any statement about voter fraud?” Mr. Cruz asked.
“We’re simply linking to a broader conversation so that people have more information,” Mr. Dorsey answered.
“No, you’re not,” Mr. Cruz said. “You’ve put up a page that says, quote “Voter fraud of any kind is exceedingly rare in the United States.’ That’s not linking to a broader conversation. That’s taking a disputed policy position, and you’re a publisher when you’re doing that. You’re entitled to take a policy position, but you don’t get to pretend you’re not a publisher and get a special benefit under Section 230 as a result.”
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act provides protection for social media companies such as Twitter from content published by users on their platforms.
Mr. Cruz and Mr. Dorsey disagreed vehemently about whether Twitter was a publisher, with the Texas Republican arguing that Twitter was a publisher but had leveraged Section 230 to earn corporate welfare.
“At the same time that Big Tech exercises massive power, it also enjoys massive corporate welfare, through the effect of Section 230, a special immunity from liability that nobody else gets,” Mr. Cruz said at Tuesday’s hearing. “Congress has given Big Tech, in effect, a subsidy while they’ve become some of the wealthiest corporations on the face of the planet.”