Twitter, Facebook CEOs testify about efforts to stop spread of election misinformation

WASHINGTON — The heads of Facebook and Twitter said they took unprecedented steps to stop the spread of misinformation in the weeks before and after the election while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday.

Republicans have accused the social media giants of censoring free speech and targeting conservatives.

Democrats have said the online platforms sometimes don’t go far enough, particularly when it comes to flagging posts by President Trump.

“This was the largest election integrity effort by any private company in recent times,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg said Facebook worked with law enforcement and the intelligence community to combat voter suppression and misinformation.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said the company labeled more than 300,000 misleading tweets from Oct. 27 to Nov. 11.

But Democrats questioned if enough was being done.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) pointed to a tweet from President Trump on Nov. 7 that said, “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!”

Twitter placed a label on the tweet that said, “Official sources may not have called the race when this was tweeted.”

“Does that label do enough to prevent the tweet’s harms when the tweet is still visible and the tweet is not accurate?” Feinstein asked.

“I believe it’s really important that we show people a broader context and that is the intention of the label,” Dorsey said.

Republicans blasted Twitter for blocking a New York Post article about Hunter Biden.

“That to me seems like you’re the ultimate editor,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Dorsey said Twitter has since changed its policy.

“We admitted this action was wrong and corrected it within 24 hours,” Dorsey said.

Lawmakers in both parties did agree on one point: they both want to reform what’s known as Section 230 which is a law that protects online companies from behind held responsible for what users say or do.

“My hope is that we change Section 230 to incentivize social media platforms to come up with standards that are transparent,” Graham said.

“The American public deserves real reform and accountability,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).