Cathy McMorris Rodgers Exposes Twitter’s Double Standards In Tech Hearing

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Republican Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington highlighted Twitter’s double-standards on censorship Thursday during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on big tech.

“I am extremely concerned when platforms apply inconsistent content moderating policies for their own purposes whether as an excuse to take responsibility for failing to enforce content standards fairly, or by altering speech to settle scores with political or competitive opponents,” McMorris Rodgers said. “There’s no clearer example of a platform using its power for political purposes, then Twitter singling out President Trump, while also leaving blatant threats of violence by activist Democratic candidates and authoritarian foreign leaders untouched.”

The social media company began censoring President Donald Trump in May, first related to a pair of posts raising valid concerns over mail-in voting as misleading information. The company flagged another tweet just two days later when the president threatened to deploy the National Guard to quell the uprising of militant anarchists terrorizing the nation’s cities in the immediate aftermath of George Floyd’s death as “glorifying violence.”

“I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will sent in the National Guard & get the job done right,” the president wrote.

Twitter pinned a note to the post accusing Trump of violating platform guidelines related to violent content.

Posts from the Supreme Leader of Iran however, published just days earlier have remained on the site unchecked.

Ahead of Thursday’s hearing, McMorris Rodgers highlighted several other posts from the Chinese Communist Party and Democratic candidates left unchecked.

“If the [current] majority is truly concerned about platforms having an effect on the upcoming election, I hope they will join me in demanding accountability from this platform that is blatantly putting its thumb on the scale for one side over the other,” McMorris Rodgers said.

The House hearing comes a day after the Department of Justice submitted draft legislation to Congress outlining proposals to clarify language in the Section 230 the 1996 Communications Decency Act to ensure an open forum in the 21st century public square online.

The need to enhance big tech regulation of Silicon Valley tech giants has become a rare focal point of Washington bipartisanship where leaders on both sides of the aisle have endorsed ramping up government oversight of the nation’s largest companies wielding unchecked power while lawmakers fall behind in adequate rules and regulations.

While bipartisan consensus that something must be done exists, both parties differ on diagnosing exactly what the problems are and the proper remedies to fix them. While Republicans such as McMorris Rodgers hammer big tech censorship engaging in blatant double-standards that stand to benefit their political opponents, Democrats have condemned online platforms for providing a haven for hate speech.

“Throughout our nation’s history, we have seen extremism undermine public faith in our institutions, incite violence, sow division, and spread hate speech,” said Illinois Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky at Thursday’s hearing who chairs the consumer protection subcommittee. “What is different today is the way social media algorithms can amplify hate speech.”

Watch FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr discuss the need for Section 230 reform here:

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