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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

US Senators Call for Increased Social Media Rules After Blocking of NY Post Article

Considering the ongoing problems with the US politics and the accusations of media bias, it looks unavoidable that there would be a serious conflict, or a sort of it, amid the Presidential Election campaign

Lately, The New York Post has published a couple of articles that explained in details the accusations against the Presidential candidate Joe Biden regarding international business deals done by his son, Hunter Biden, and claimed interference coming by Biden Snr. The application of the investigation is that Joe Biden has acted in a bad way and abused his powers as Vice President to secure his son’s advantages. Biden has denied all these claims.

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Given the nature of the accusations that are not proved as yet and the particular details within the NY post articles, both Facebook and Twitter to enterprise measurements to decrease sharing these articles, pending fact-checking. This is the first time for these social platforms taking this measure, and every one of them has basically halted or slowed the spread of these claims as they are still under investigation.

So, Facebook has flagged related content for fact-checking, yet didn’t stop users from sharing the articles. While Twitter has blocked users from tweeting any links to the content.

Which has made some US Senators ready for war.

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According to The Wall Street Journal:

“The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to issue a subpoena on Tuesday to Twitter Inc. Chief Executive Jack Dorsey after the social-media company blocked a pair of New York Post articles that made new allegations about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, which his campaign has denied.”

As per WSJ, Dorsey is being selected as Twitter banned users from sharing links to the articles directly, as contrary to facebook’s approach to halting the distribution. That would see Dorsey forced to answer questions about his company approach, to front the Senate, while also, various Senators have restated their calls to cancel of Section 230 laws, that give digital platforms some sort of protection from liability on content posted on their websites.

Which, indeed, US President Donald Trump has been looking for, for some time:

Also, Lindsey Graham and Republican Senators Ted Cruz have called for action, naming it ‘active censorship’ and ‘election interference’. However, indeed, social media platforms are privately owned businesses and not public properties. They can set the rules for their own platforms and do whatever they like in them.

Will that need to change – and will this lead to increased action against the major social platforms?

The event confirms the significance of social platforms in our wide communication landscape. Also, it reflects the potential risk of distributed misinformation, and how wrong claims would get popular on social media websites. Facebook and Twitter are cautious of playing a role in distributing dangerous misinformation and are looking to be warier. However, that then opens up some further accusations of political bias and oppressing specific stories based on their personal judgments.

However, to be fair, Twitter has already blocked the articles based on its hacker materials policy not based on its rumorous content.

Therefore, Twitter is basically stating that it has a particular detail contained in these reports that are the issue, not the claims themselves. Twitter has admitted that its connection around the actions in this matter was not communicated adequately, which has to be improved. Facebook has only restricted the reach of its reports to align with the approach of third-party fact-checking.

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