Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was quick to freeze the account of the fourth-largest newspaper in the United States, the New York Post, but when it comes to terrorist-supporting, authoritarian regimes, the ban-hammer does not come as quickly.
On Wednesday, the tech CEO, appearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, explained that, to his company, Iran’s “saber-rattling” does not violate its terms of service.
“We did not find those to violate our terms of service because we considered them ‘saber-rattling,’ which is part of the speech of world leaders in concert with other countries,” he responded to a question from Sen. Roger Wicker regarding tweets from Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“Speech against our own people or a country’s own citizens we believe is different and can cause more immediate harm,” he said.
This from a company that routinely puts caution labels on tweets from President Donald Trump that are nowhere near the level of what Khamenei tweets, as Sen. Wicker pointed out to the CEO.
“You routinely restrict the president of the United States,” Wicker charged.
“How does a claim by Chinese communists that the U.S. military is to blame for Covid stay up for two months without a fact check and the president’s tweet about the security of mail-in ballots get labeled instantly?”
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Dorsey ridiculously defended his company’s decision-making, saying that it revolves around the “severity of potential offline harm.”
He said that his company acts as quickly as it can in these matters and, apparently, for a false claim from China, three months was as quickly as it could be done.
“We saw the confusion, we saw the confusion it might encourage, and we labeled it accordingly,” he said of the decision to label the president’s questioning of mail-in ballots.
“The goal of our labeling is to provide more context, to connect the dots so people can have more information so they can make decisions for themselves,” he said.
Meanwhile, the tweets from Iran’s Khamenei remain on the company’s platform with no action taken by Twitter moderators.
“We will support and assist any nation or any group anywhere who opposes and fights the Zionist regime, and we do not hesitate to say this,” one of his horrific tweets said.
We will support and assist any nation or any group anywhere who opposes and fights the Zionist regime, and we do not hesitate to say this.#FlyTheFlag
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) May 20, 2020
The questioning from Wicker came during what was a rough day for Dorsey and his fellow tech CEOs, which included a fantastic dressing down by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
“Who the hell elected you and put you in charge of what the media are allowed to report and what the American people are allowed to hear,” Cruz said during the hearing in regards to Twitter’s decision to freeze the account of The New York Post.
As the presidential election draws closer, now less than a week away, the next moves from the tech giants will tell a lot about the future of speech in the United States.
WATCH the full hearing: