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Republicans on Senate panel subpoena Facebook, Twitter CEOs

Republicans on Senate panel subpoena Facebook, Twitter CEOs
© Greg Nash

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to subpoena the chief executives of Facebook and Twitter a week after both platforms limited the spread of a controversial article about Hunter Biden, Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate Democrats negotiating changes to coronavirus bill Rural Americans are the future of the clean energy economy — policymakers must to catch up WHO official says it's 'premature' to think pandemic will be over by end of year MORE's son.

The panel voted 12-0 to compel the testimony of Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergWarren's wealth tax would cost 100 richest Americans billion Who killed the California dream? If you think it was liberals, think again Facebook touts benefits of personalized ads in new campaign MORE and Jack Dorsey. The Democrats on the committee had boycotted the hearing over the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettSupreme Court faces landmark challenge on voting rights The Jan. 6 case for ending the Senate filibuster Laurence Tribe: Justice Thomas is out of order on 2020 election MORE.

Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone declined to comment. Twitter also declined to comment. 

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It is not clear when the Judiciary hearing would take place.

Both CEOs, along with Google parent company Alphabet's Sundar Pichai, are scheduled to testify before the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday. That hearing is to focus on content moderation, data privacy and media consolidation.

Thursday’s vote came about a week after Facebook and Twitter moved to restrict the spread of a controversial article in the New York Post suggesting that Hunter Biden had organized a meeting between a Ukrainian businessman and his father, who was vice president at the time. That claim was based on emails obtained from a hard drive with no substantive links to anyone involved.

Conservatives seized on the social media platforms' decisions to accuse them of anticonservative bias and attack their legal liability shield.

That law, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, is likely to come under fire during any hearing with the Big Tech CEOs.

Section 230, which has faced increased scrutiny since President TrumpDonald TrumpProsecutors focus Trump Organization probe on company's financial officer: report WHO official says it's 'premature' to think pandemic will be over by end of year Romney released from hospital after fall over the weekend MORE targeted it in an executive order in May, gives internet companies immunity from lawsuits for content posted on their sites by third parties and allows them to make "good faith" efforts to moderate content.