Facebook, Twitter and Google to testify at Senate hearing on tech 'censorship'

Tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Google are sending company representatives to testify at a Senate hearing next week about big tech's alleged "censorship" of conservative voices.

Facebook said public policy director Neil Potts will provide testimony at a Wednesday hearing titled "Stifling Free Speech: Technological Censorship and the Public Discourse," held by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution. 

A source familiar with the matter told The Hill that Twitter and Google are also sending representatives to the hearing, and said there will be a second panel.

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The subcommittee is chaired by tech critic Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzLawmakers announce legislation to fund government purchases of oil Overnight Energy: Oil giants meet with Trump at White House | Interior extends tenure of controversial land management chief | Oil prices tick up on hopes of Russia-Saudi deal Oil giants meet at White House amid talk of buying strategic reserves MORE (R-Texas), who has alleged the Silicon Valley giants — Google, Facebook and Twitter — are biased against conservatives and routinely censor right-wing voices.

All three companies have pushed back against those accusations, arguing there is little evidence to back up those charges.

But conservatives, including President TrumpDonald John TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill MORE, in recent weeks have ramped up their criticisms of social media companies. Trump in a tweet last month accused Facebook, Google and Twitter of being "on the side of the Radical Left Democrats."

His remarks came a day after Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee and its former chairman, sued Twitter and some of its users for more than $250 million. Nunes claimed in the lawsuit that Twitter partially blocks or removes certain content posted by conservatives without notifying them.

Twitter has repeatedly denied that it "shadow-bans" users, saying some users are unintentionally affected when algorithms misidentify them as bots due to the amount they engage with the platform.
 
"Big tech behaves like the only acceptable views are those on the far left," Cruz told The Hill last week. "And any views to the contrary are suitable for censorship and silencing."

Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment on whether they plan to send representatives to testify at Wednesday's hearing. Politico first reported Facebook's plans to attend.

Potts and a Google representative are also scheduled to testify at a House Judiciary Committee on white nationalism on Tuesday.

Updated 1:36 p.m.