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Senator Mike Lee says fact-checking is form of censorship

Republicans argue that liberal voices are ‘censored’ more than liberal ones

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Thursday 29 October 2020 23:53 GMT
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Mike Lee says fact-checking is censorship

At Wednesday’s Senate hearing concerning content moderation policies on major social media platforms, Republican Senator Mike Lee said that fact-checking is a form of censorship.

The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation was questioning the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook, and Google via video chat about online censorship, with Republicans voicing concerns that the companies discriminate against conservative viewpoints.

Senator Lee argued that content moderation policies were deployed disproportionately against users with conservative ideologies.

Defining what he meant by censorship, the Utah lawmaker said: “When I use the word 'censor' here, I'm meaning blocked content, fact check, or labeled content, or demonetised websites of conservative, Republican, or pro-life individuals or groups or companies.”

He added that he does not see the same suppression of high-profile liberal groups or individuals.

CEOs Jack Dorsey of Twitter, Sundar Pichai of Google, and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, all defended their policies, stating that they apply to anyone that violates platform rules, no matter their political affiliation.

Incredulous Twitter users were quick to pounce on the idea that a sitting Senator believes that flagging untruths or falsities constitutes censorship. Others declared themselves less surprised.

The hearing was scheduled to discuss Section 230, a law that protects social media companies from being held responsible for any content published on their platforms.

Republican concerns over social media “censorship” were reinvigorated after Twitter limited the sharing of a controversial unverified New York Post story about Hunter Biden's laptop.

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