Hate Speech and Censorship

U.S. & World

Twitter and Facebook executives testified at a senate hearing Wednesday about concerns of censorship on social media.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R), Texas asserts, “The anecdotes we’re aware of consistently on one side of the aisle.”

Some top GOP officials are accusing tech companies of targeting right-leaning posts, but companies argue its not censorship, rather even-handed enforcement of rules meant to prevent hate speech and harassment.

Neil Potts, Facebook Public Policy Director says, “Facebook does not favor one political viewpoint over another and we do not suppress speech.”

This comes just one day after a house hearing about the role tech companies play in the spread of white supremacy online.

Kristen Clarke from Lawyer’s Committee For Civil Rights Under Law says, “Without question they are using on-line platforms to recruit new members.”

Ironically, that hearing was streamed on YouTube and met with the same extremism under discussion

Ian Sherr of CNet says, “Comments section was filled with hateful comments and white supremacist language to point where YouTube Google stepped in and shut down the comments section.”

Tech companies have the difficult job of curbing violence on their platforms while preserving a free marketplace of ideas.

Suzanne Kantra of Techlicious adds, “They’re really trying to figure out where that line in the sand is between censorship and free speech.”

Without government guidance.

Sherr notes, “They can’t agree on where the line is and that’s part of the problem.”

As tech companies struggle with content moderation, lawmakers struggle to regulate them.

Google is also expected to answer questions about censorship at a later hearing.

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