Thursday 22 October 2020 6:22 pm

US Senate committee votes to subpoena Twitter and Facebook bosses

Top US lawmakers today voted to subpoena the chief executives of Twitter and Facebook after both platforms blocked controversial tabloid stories about Joe Biden’s son.

Republicans on the US Senate judiciary committee approved the motion to haul in Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg unopposed today.

Read more: Facebook issues temporary ban on political ads after US election

Democrats on the committee had boycotted the meeting over the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Committee chairman Lindsey Graham said he hoped the subpoenas would give the panel some “leverage to secure [the chief executives’] testimony” if they did not come and testify voluntarily.

The two social media bosses will be called in to testify on allegations of anti-conservative bias.

It comes after both companies flagged two stories published by the New York Post that alleged Hunter Biden, son of the Democratic presidential candidate, had introduced his father to a Ukranian businessman.

The origins of the report are unconfirmed, and Facebook and Twitter flagged the stories as disinformation.

Twitter initially did not explain its decision, but later said it had blocked the stories as they breached its policy on hacked materials, while images in the article contained personal and private information.

US President Donald Trump and Republicans have lashed out at social media firms over their alleged stifling of conservative voices.

Read more: Twitter bans Donald Trump’s presidential campaign over coronavirus fake news

Both sites have flagged or removed recent posts by Trump that contained misinformation about Covid-19 and postal voting.

Separately, the bosses of Facebook and Twitter are due to testify alongside the chief executive of Google’s parent company Alphabet in front of a Senate committee next week during a hearing about a key law protecting internet companies.