Mr Blumenthal is one of several Democrats who sought to use Tuesday’s Senate hearing with Mr Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to advocate for stronger self-censorship among the giants of the technology to root out hate speech and politically violent speech.
Mr Zuckerberg and Mr Dorsey appeared alongside Google CEO Sundar Pichai in a separate hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee in late October.
“How many times is Steve Bannon allowed to call for the murder of public officials before Facebook suspends his account?” Mr. Blumenthal questioned Mr. Zuckerberg on Tuesday.
Mr. Zuckerberg explained that while Facebook has a zero-tolerance policy for accounts that post content characterized by terrorist activity or child exploitation and permanently deletes those accounts, the social media company does not delete immediately accounts that post content such as the video of Mr. Bannon’s call. for the heads of American officials on the pikes.
Facebook has purged its site of Mr. Bannon’s video, and his account could be permanently deleted if it persists in posting content that violates Facebook’s rules against speech that may incite violence. .
Mr Bannon – Mr Trump’s former chief political strategist in the White House and former executive chairman of Breitbart News – argued in a video that Mr Wray and Dr Fauci, the foremost infectious disease expert in the States – United, should be beheaded for disloyalty to Mr. Trump.
“I would put heads on spikes. Right. I would put them in both corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats: either you accept the program or you are gone, ”Bannon said in the video.
“This is how you won the revolution. Nobody wants to talk about it. The revolution wasn’t some kind of garden party, right? It was a civil war. It was a civil war, ”he said.
The video was a simulcast of Mr. Bannon’s political podcast, The war room.
Twitter subsequently suspended the podcast’s account.
Response to Mr Bannon’s comments about Dr Fauci and Mr Wray varied, although almost all of them were negative.
Dr Fauci called them “really quite unusual” and said these remarks were “not the kind of thing you think of when you go to medical school to be a doctor”.
Lawyers representing Mr Bannon in his pending case over charges of scamming donors as part of a crowdfunding border wall campaign have left his legal team since the beheading comments.
Tuesday’s hearing was the Senate’s second in three weeks pointedly examining “Section 230,” a clause in the 1996 Communications Decency Act that social media and tech giants have repeatedly used in front of courts to protect against lawsuits resulting from user posting of inflammatory content. on their platforms.
Both Democrats and Republicans are keen to change Section 230, but for radically different reasons.
The Liberals have pressured companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google and others to adopt tougher moderation rules to eliminate hate speech and other forms of incitement to violence. Democratic lawmakers have even proposed changes to Section 230 to make social media companies legally responsible for content posted on their platforms.
Republicans, by contrast, have long accused those same social media giants of anti-conservative bias, alleging that their attempts to self-censor user posts have disproportionately targeted conservative voices.
Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah attacked Facebook on Tuesday for slapping a warning tag on one of his recent posts regarding alleged voter fraud in the 2020 election. Although Republicans and the Trump campaign have filed In dozens of lawsuits in recent weeks, they have provided no evidence of a widespread conspiracy to back up their claims that the 2020 election was “stolen” from Mr. Trump.
Facebook’s decision to report its recent post on election fraud “looks more like state media announcing the party line, than a neutral company as it claims it is,” Lee said at the hearing. Tuesday.
“This kind of writing isolates people from the truth and insinuates that anyone who is concerned about voter fraud must be crazy. … These concerns may be out of the mainstream in Palo Alto, but they are not out of the mainstream in the rest of America, ”he said.
The vast majority of state and federal judges who have heard the GOP’s cases alleging electoral fraud were quick to dismiss them.