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Sen. Cruz, Twitter CEO debate social media's influence over elections

Ted Cruz disagreed when Jack Dorsey said he didn't think Twitter can influence elections.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — In a Senate panel meeting on Thursday to discuss alleged anti-conservative bias with tech giants like Facebook and Google, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas exchanged heated words with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

When asked by Sen. Cruz during the Commerce Committee hearing whether Twitter can influence elections, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said no.

"Because of the three players before us, I think Twitter's conduct has, by far, been the most egregious," Sen. Cruz said. "Mr. Dorsey, does Twitter have the ability to influence elections."

"No," Dorsey responded.

The senator reiterated his question.

"No," Dorsey said again. "We are one part of a spectrum of communication channels that people have."

"So you're testifying to this committee right now that Twitter, when it silences people, when it censors people, when it blocks political speech, that has no impact on elections?" Cruz asked.

"People have choice of other communication channels with which ...," Dorsey continued until he was interrupted.

"Not if they don't hear information," Cruz said. "If you don't think you have the power to influence elections, why do you block anything?"

"Well, we have policies that are focused on making sure that more voices on the platform are possible," Dorsey replied. "We see a lot of abuse and harassment, which ends up silencing people and helping them leave from the platform."

"Alright, Mr. Dorsey, I find your opening questions, your opening answers, absurd on their face," Cruz said.

The senator's office also made a "Cruz vs. Dorsey" flyer prior to the committee meeting on Wednesday, calling himself the "free speech champion" and Dorsey the "czar of censorship."

In recent months, Twitter has also blocked tweets from members of the Trump administration, including from the president himself, because they contained misleading or incorrect information related to COVID-19.

More details from the meeting can be found here.


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