Six Takeaways as Facebook, Twitter CEOs Testify at Senate Hearing

The CEOs of Twitter and Facebook returned Tuesday to Capitol Hill, this time to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
While focused on Twitter’s blocking of a New York Post story about the Biden family’s business dealings overseas and the social media giants’ immunity from lawsuit under the Communications Decency Act, the hearing veered into other topics as well.

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EU Files Antitrust Charges Against Amazon Over Use of Data

European Union regulators filed antitrust charges Tuesday against Amazon, accusing the e-commerce giant of using its access to data from companies that sell products on its platform to gain an unfair advantage over them.

The charges, filed two years after the bloc’s antitrust enforcer began looking into the company, are the latest effort by European regulators to curb the power of big technology companies. Margrethe Vestager, the EU commissioner in charge of competition issues, has slapped Google with antitrust fines totaling nearly $10 billion and opened twin antitrust investigations this summer into Apple. The EU’s executive Commission also opened a second investigation Tuesday into whether Amazon favors product offers and merchants that use its own logistics and delivery system.

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Conservative Facebook Users Upset Over Censorship Take Alternative Social Media Site Parler Out for a Test Drive

Facebook seems to be presenting a “Catch-22” for conservatives who are fed up with censorship: In order to leave Facebook yet let contacts know how to find them, they must risk Facebook’s censorship to let those contacts know.

Project Veritas has often documented Facebook’s bias against conservatives and its deletions of their posts.

Some who say they are tired of that bias are trying microblogging/social networking site Parler. They say they see Parler as a free-speech alternative to Twitter. Forbes in June ran an interview with Parler founder John Matze and how the site has grown to be a conservative presence in only two years.

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Trump Could Face More Censorship on Twitter If He Loses Re-Election

President Donald Trump may be subject to increased censorship on his personal Twitter account if he loses the election and becomes a private citizen, according to Twitter.

Twitter allows for public officials to push the community guidelines further than private citizens in the interest of information and direct engagement of users with their elected officials, according to an official statement from the website.

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Texas Attorney’s Video of Suspicious Vote-Counting Activity in Detroit Censored by Big Tech, Conservatives Allege

Texas attorney Kellye SoRelle and members of Lawyers for Trump sent a copy of a video to Texas Scorecard of individuals moving what she claims are ballots in the middle of the night on Nov. 4 in Detroit.

In the video, a white van is seen parked in front of polling location at 2:40 a.m. A box is taken out of the van and placed into a red wagon, which is then pulled inside the facility. SoRelle video recorded and photographed the activity, which Texas Scorecard published on its website.

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Victor Davis Hanson Commentary: Donald Trump, Counterrevolutionary

by Victor Davis Hanson   Until Donald Trump’s arrival, the globalist revolution was almost solidified and institutionalized – with the United States increasingly its greatest and most “woke” advocate. We know its bipartisan establishment contours. China would inherit the world in 20 or 30 years. The self-appointed task of American…

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Commentary: Silicon Valley Titans Lie Again as Congress Meekly Looks On

After a series of mishaps involving muted senators, virtual cross-talk, and “connectivity issues” befuddling one of the world’s most tech-savvy men, the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter, and Google appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday for what has now become a performative ritual: senators of both parties yell about different aspects of social media, the tech giants respond with bland, vague, noncommittal statements. And nothing substantive happens.

This is exactly where the Senate Commerce Committee found itself on Wednesday, when Big Tech was confronted with a host of critics and without any defenders—but ultimately very little in the way of committed follow-up from legislators.

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Commentary: A DOJ Roadblock to America’s Big Tech Beatdown?

It’s safe to say that Big Tech hasn’t had a great month.

Google received a beating at the Supreme Court for allegedly stealing the coding needed to create Android. Congress subpoenaed Facebook and Twitter for deliberately blocking news coverage potentially damaging to one political party — a move that culminated in a high-profile hearing yesterday. And now, the Department of Justice has charged Google with illegally maintaining its search and advertising monopoly.

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Zuckerberg: FBI Warned Us to Be on the Lookout For a ‘Hack and Leak’ Op with ‘Trove of Docs’ Before the Election

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Congress Wednesday that the FBI warned him months ago that Facebook should be on “heightened alert” about “hack and leak operations” that could be part of a foreign disinformation campaign in the final weeks before the 2020 election.

The Facebook honcho made the remarks during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing where he testified alongside Google’s Sundar Pichai and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey.

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Apple Developing Search Engine as Google Comes Under Antitrust Scrutiny: Report

Apple has ramped up development of its own search engine technology as antitrust U.S. and European Union regulators scrutinize Google, according to a Financial Times report.

The Silicon Valley tech giant has subtly started the transition away from its reliance on the Google search engine, The Financial Times reported. Apple’s latest software update iOS 14, for example, directs users directly to links when they search for a term on their device’s home screen.

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Commentary: How to Restrain Big Tech Immediately

A year ago, University of Georgia professor Cas Mudde took to Twitter and asked: “How do you manage to stay informed about political news and stay mentally balanced?” In his next tweet, he confessed too much time on social media was contributing to anxiety and depression.

With this, Mudde expressed a sentiment many social media users share. As we discuss policy issues tied to social media—tech regulation, free speech, foreign influence—we shouldn’t lose sight of the damaging psychological effects of today’s information environment. You may not want to hear this a week before the election, but social media addiction is a public health issue. Big Tech is the new Big Tobacco.

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Social Media CEOs Get Earful on Bias, Warning of New Limits

With next week’s election looming, the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google were scolded by Republicans at a Senate hearing Wednesday for alleged anti-conservative bias in the companies’ social media platforms and received a warning of coming restrictions from Congress.

Lawmakers of both parties are assessing the companies’ tremendous power to disseminate speech and ideas, and are looking to challenge their long-enjoyed bedrock legal protections for online speech.

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Commentary: How Big Tech Masks COVID-19 Realities

Since the early stages of the coronavirus crisis, any viewpoint or research running afoul of the accepted doctrine conceived by the credentialed class has been censored.

Social media platforms, internet search engines, and other monopolistic guardians of information decided at the very beginning that they would determine which content would be available for public consumption; “false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities that could cause harm to people who believe them” would be subjected to Facebook’s reject button, according to a January 2020 statement released by the company.

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Senators Introduce Bill to Amend Rule Over Third-Party Internet Content

In the wake of allegations of big tech companies suppressing political speech and news stories on their platforms, Republican senators and congressmen introduced legislation to amend Section 230, part of a federal code that regulates third-party content on the internet.

Federal Communication Communications (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai also weighed in on Thursday after senators announced they were subpoenaing Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey.

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Commentary: Big Tech Is Breaking Campaign Finance Laws Openly Campaigning on Behalf of Democrats

A mayoral candidate in Texas was arrested October 8 and charged with 84 counts of mail application ballot fraud; Zul Mohamed, running for mayor of Carrollton, forged nearly one hundred voter registration applications. “At the time of arrest, Mohamed was in the process of stuffing envelopes with additional mail ballot applications for neighboring Dallas County,” law enforcement officials reported. He also was charged with 25 counts of “unlawful possession of an official mail in ballot” and faces up to 20 years in prison.

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Yelp Will Alert Customers of Businesses Accused of Racism

Yelp announced Thursday that it is launching a consumer alert to inform users if a business has been “accused of racist behavior,” The Daily Caller reports.

The crowdsourced web and mobile-based review service will allow reviewers to identify and warn others of what they believe is racist behavior at businesses.

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95 Percent of Silicon Valley Donations Have Gone to Joe Biden

A new Wired report shows overwhelming support from Silicon Valley employees for Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden. The magazine states that almost 95 percent of donations from employees at Silicon Valley tech giants such as Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Oracle went to the Democratic presidential nominee, Breitbart reports.

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‘Oil Barons and Railroad Tycoons’: Big Tech Must Be Restructured, House Report Says

Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google have abused their monopoly power and must undergo significant restructuring, according to a House report released Tuesday.

Lawmakers who wrote the report said the four tech companies had grown into monopolies akin to “oil barons and railroad tycoons” and suggested an overhaul to U.S. antitrust laws, according to The New York Times. The lengthy report, spearheaded by Democratic Reps. Jerrold Nadler and David Cicilline, is the result of a 15-month House Judiciary Committee investigation into the companies collectively known as Big Tech.

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Commentary: Silicon Valley and Team Biden Collude to Rig 2020 Election

Big Tech’s censorship has nothing to do with accuracy or fairness.

If there is any doubt Big Tech oligarchs are colluding with Team Biden to influence the outcome of the 2020 election, none other than two-time losing presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gave the game away this week.

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More Than Half of American Voters Support Breaking up Big Tech Companies, a New Poll Finds

More than half of American voters strongly or somewhat support breaking up Silicon Valley tech giants to promote competition, according to a poll published Thursday.

Only 26% of voters oppose or strongly oppose splitting up the country’s largest tech companies, while 19% of those surveyed didn’t offer a view, a poll from progressive think tank Data for Progress showed. The poll, which surveyed 1,200 likely voters in September, comes as the House lawmakers conclude their nearly yearlong probe into the industry’s supposed anticompetitive behavior.

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Google Removes Autocomplete for Candidates and Voting

Ahead of the U.S. presidential election Google said that it will now remove any autocomplete predictions that seem to endorse or oppose a candidate or a political party and claims about voting or the electoral process, according to a CNN report. 

Google executives outlined these changes at an online press event Thursday, as well as in a blog post. Google’s autocomplete feature offers recommendations for queries once a user begins typing.

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Michigan and Ohio Secretaries of State Endorse Zuckerberg’s Millions Directed to Elections

Michigan and Ohio state secretaries Jocelyn Benson and Frank LaRose endorsed $300 million directed to elections by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan. The Center for Tech and Civil Life (CTCL) and Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR) announced Tuesday that Zuckerberg and his wife donated in order “to promote safe and reliable voting in states and localities.”

Both Benson and LaRose agreed that the investment was necessary considering the pandemic’s effects on the presidential election. LaRose reposted the press release the day it came out, citing the need for accurate information during voting.

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Jack Dorsey Donates $10 Million to a Group Headed by an Activist Who Wants to Make Racism Unconstitutional

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced Thursday his decision to gave a no-strings-attached $10 million donation to an anti-racist group headed by an activist who once promoted the idea of amending the U.S. Constitution to prohibit racism.

The tech billionaire gave the money to Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research, a project launched by scholar Ibram X. Kendi, who expressed support in 2019 for a constitutional amendment that he claims would “fix the original sin of racism.” Dorsey said in a tweet Thursday that he is grateful for Kendi’s work.

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Facebook Announces Restrictions on Groups Like QAnon and Antifa

Facebook announced Wednesday that it will take further action against pages, groups, and Instagram accounts associated with anarchist groups and other groups “tied to violence.”

The social media website said it will expand their “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy” to censor groups who reportedly pose a “significant risk” to public safety, such as QAnon, the company said in a statement. Facebook is also taking action against “offline anarchist groups that support violent acts amidst protests,” the statement said.

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Apple Is First American Company to be Valued at $2 Trillion

Apple is the first U.S. company to boast a market value of $2 trillion, just two years after it became the first to reach $1 trillion.

Apple shares have gained nearly 60% this year as the company overcame the shutdown of factories in China that produce the iPhone and the closure of its retail sales amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Commentary: Big Tech’s Double Standards on Islamist Hate Speech

When it comes to social media influencers, many might recognize Michelle Obama, Leonardo DiCaprio, Roger Federer, and Billy Joel. But what about the superstar Islamist clerics — Mohamad Al Arefe, A’id Al Qarnee, Salman Al Odah, and Othman Al Khamis — whose track records range from incitement of jihad, country-entry bans, and displays of bigotry?

Not only do members of the latter group attract more Twitter followers, but their Twitter fan bases are so large that if they were to unite and form a country, it would become the world’s 27th most populous.

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Twitter, Facebook Hit Trump Over Post Suggesting Children Are ‘Almost Immune’ from Coronavirus

Twitter partially suspended President Donald Trump’s campaign Twitter account on Wednesday for posting a tweet containing a video of Trump suggesting children are “almost immune” to coronavirus.

The post contains an interview Trump gave to Fox News Wednesday morning in which the president made the claim relating to children and the ongoing pandemic, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. Facebook removed a post Wednesday that contained the same video, marking the first time the social media platform has nixed a Trump post over coronavirus misinformation.

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Zuckerberg Was the Only Tech CEO to Unequivocally Say China Is Stealing American Technology

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was the only tech executive at Wednesday’s antitrust hearing who unequivocally said China is stealing technology from American companies.

“I think it’s well documented that the Chinese government steals technology from American companies,” the 36-year-old Silicon Valley executive said after Rep. Greg Steube asked him if China is stealing from U.S. technology companies. The Florida Republican posed the same question to CEOs Tim Cook of Apple, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, and Sundar Pichai of Google.

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Google Deliberately Alters Search Results for Breitbart News

As the 2020 election draws nearer, search engine and tech giant Google is being exposed as engaging in election interference by artificially altering search results to negatively impact right-wing sites, as reported by Breitbart.

Breitbart reports that its own visibility on Google search results has been reduced by as much as 99.7 percent of its previous performance since the 2016 election. In contrast to its performance in April of 2016, when it was among the top ten search results for 355 key search terms, it now ranks in the top ten of only one such search term in the month of July of this year.

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Commentary: Silicon Valley Ramps up Censorship of Conservatives

Silicon Valley’s pre-election censorship of conservatives is rapidly increasing, with anything that questions the imposition of a new level of COVID-19 lockdown misery and economic devastation a top target.

The latest example of this pre-election censorship occurred yesterday, when Facebook, Twitter and Google removed a press conference video by frontline doctors featuring U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) and organized by Tea Party Patriots.

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Spotlight on Four Big Tech CEOs Testifying in Competition Probe

They command corporations with gold-plated brands, millions or even billions of customers, and a combined value greater than the entire German economy. One of them is the world’s richest individual; another is the fourth-ranked billionaire. Their industry has transformed society, linked people around the globe, mined and commercialized users’ personal data, and infuriated critics on both the left and right over speech.

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AG Barr Lashes Out at ‘Double Standard’ in How Big Tech Treats US Versus the Chinese Communist Party

Attorney General Bill Barr lambasted Apple Thursday, suggesting the iPhone maker’s business ties in China reveal a double standard in how tech companies treat U.S. officials versus the Chinese Communist Party.

China’s goal is to “raid” the United States and bilk American businesses, Barr said during a speech in Michigan. He also suggested there could be serious repercussions for Silicon Valley companies that give deference to China over the U.S.

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Dave Yost Seeks Public’s Input on Whether Google Uses ‘Deceptive Sales Practices’

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said he wants the public to weigh in on the question of whether internet search engines should be “allowed to favor their own products and services in search results.”

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Commentary: Big Tech’s Escalating War on Free Speech

On June 19, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld 9-0 the right to freedom of speech, including “hate speech.” As Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the court: “The proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express the thought that we hate.” Justice Anthony Kennedy added in a concurring opinion: “A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all.”

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Project Veritas Exposes Rampant Anti-Conservative Bias of Facebook’s Content Moderators: ‘I Am Going to Delete Them for Terrorism’

A shocking new undercover video from Project Veritas exposes the rampant anti-conservative bias of Facebook’s content moderators, the employees who are responsible for deciding what posts are censored.

Zach McElroy, a former Facebook employee who worked as a content moderator in Tampa, Florida, told Project Veritas that he’s willing to testify before Congress about Facebook’s bias against Trump supporters and conservative causes.

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ANALYSIS: DOJ Investigators Involved in Antitrust Probe Don’t Appear to be Scrutinizing Claims of Bias in Google’s Search

by Peter Hasson and Chris White   Department of Justice investigators who are conducting an antitrust probe targeting Google do not appear to be scrutinizing claims that the tech giant manipulates its search function, leaks about the probe and a source familiar with it indicate. Google critics argue that Google…

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Facebook Removes President Trump Campaign Ads Alleging the Use of ‘Symbols of Hateful Ideology’

Facebook has removed ads for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign because they featured an upside-down red triangle.

The tech giant said the ads were removed because the symbol was once used by Nazis to designate political prisoners, but Trump’s campaign has noted that the symbol is widely used by Antifa, which is why it was included in the ad.

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Hawley Announces Bill Targeting Bad-Acting Tech Companies Hours After Google, NBC Demonetization Dispute Over the Federalist

Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley announced Wednesday that he is introducing a bill aimed at fighting bad-acting tech companies hours after Google threatened a conservative publication with demonetization.

The Limiting Section 230 Immunity to Good Samaritans Act, cosponsored by Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Mike Braun of Indiana and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, would prevent big tech companies from receiving Section 230 immunities unless the companies updated their terms of service, promised to operate in good faith and promised to pay a $5,000 fine if they violated their promise.

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Censorship, Antitrust Probes: Big Tech Is Back to Fighting Familiar Foes After Taking on Coronavirus

Amazon, Twitter, and other major tech companies are facing intense criticism on antitrust issues and censorship claims in the months since government officials reportedly began asking for help from Silicon Valley on ways to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

The president and lawmakers have turned their sights on Twitter and Amazon, respectively, while Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and other attorneys general are reportedly ratcheting up their antitrust investigation targeting Google’s business model. The White House asked them in March to fight coronavirus disinformation while also assisting the government in its virus response.

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Ads for Children’s Book on 19th Amendment Written by Sen. Blackburn and Her Daughter Banned by Instagram

Instagram reportedly believes a children’s book written by U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and her daughter, about the history of the 19th Amendment, may “influence the outcome of an election,” so the tech giant has banned advertising for it.

The Federalist reported on the book’s ban.

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Commentary: Trump Executive Order Strikes at the Heart of Social Media’s Leftist Censorship

President Trump’s long-hoped-for Executive Order on social media censorship is a good first step in dismantling the Left’s dangerous influence over these 21st-century communications vehicles. (You can read the draft that was available online when this article was posted through this link to The National Pulse, edited by Raheem Kassam.)

We particularly agree with this part of the EO’s statement of principles, “In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand-pick the speech that Americans may access and convey online. This practice is fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic. When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power.”

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Twitter Censors White House Account for Quoting Trump’s Flagged ‘THUGS’ Tweet

Twitter censored the White House’s official Twitter account after it shared and quoted a President Donald Trump tweet Friday that the company’s moderators hit for “glorifying violence.”

The account shared a tweet Trump composed early Friday morning in which he called people rioting and looting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, “THUGS” and suggested that he will send in the military, adding that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter hid Trump’s tweet under a banner noting that the post violates company rules against glorifying violence.

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Addresses Trump Fact-Check, Asks Media to ‘Leave Our Employees Out Of This’

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey took sole responsibility Wednesday night after his company applied a fact-check on a tweet from President Donald Trump suggesting California’s mail-in ballot move is “fraudulent.”

Trump’s tweet Tuesday suggesting mail-in ballot votes are fraudulent could mislead people into believing they don’t have to register to get a ballot, Dorsey wrote on Twitter. He also asked people to lay off his employees.

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‘Wretched Orange Man’: Twitter Official Overseeing Misinformation Efforts Is Anti-Trump Partisan Who Donated to Planned Parenthood

The Twitter official overseeing the tech company’s efforts to combat misinformation is a left-wing partisan who in the past has derided President Donald Trump as a “wretched orange man” and said he donated to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of site security, is the man in charge of the platform’s fight against election-related misinformation. Some of Roth’s past political comments from 2016 and 2017 began making the rounds in conservative circles Tuesday after Twitter fact-checked a Trump tweet predicting that universal mail-in voting would result in widespread fraud.

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Twitter Dings Trump’s Tweets But Refuses to Fact Check Chinese Officials’ Virus Misinformation

Twitter has declined to take action against Chinese officials who spread coronavirus misinformation even after the company fact-checked President Donald Trump for suggesting California’s mail-in ballots are fraudulent.

A tweet from Chinese politician Lijian Zhao in March suggesting that the U.S. inserted coronavirus into China has not been removed or fact-checked. Twitter has previously said that Zhao’s tweets do not violate the company’s rules, but Twitter updated its policies on May 11, effectively making tweets from world leaders subject to misinformation labels.

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YouTube Automatically Deletes Any Comments That Contain Certain Phrases Insulting to Chinese Communist Party

YouTube’s enforcement algorithm is automatically removing any comments that contain one of two Chinese-language phrases that are critical of the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

Any comment posted to YouTube, which is owned by Google, that contains the phrase “共匪,” which stands for “communist bandit,” or “五毛,” which translates to “wumao” and stands for “50-cent party,” is deleted within seconds without notification to the user, The Verge reported Tuesday.

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