Failed presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio said it was a “positive” that social media companies block content that western societies consider to be “hate speech,” while simultaneously expressing concern that social media comply with speech-policing demands from non-western governments.
Speaking at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on the topic of foreign influence on social media, Rubio challenged Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on combating “bad actors” on their platforms.
“We’ve learned the hard way that social media, which was largely seen as a tool for incredible good … can be manipulated by bad actors to do harm.”
Sen. Rubio went on to list some of the ways in which social media could cause “harm,” including the use of “hate speech” to “sow discord.” He also said Senators are “asking” social media companies to crack down on certain users.
“What we’re asking you to do, and I think what you’ve agreed to do, is to use the powers that you have within your platforms to crack down on certain users who are hostile actors, or using disinformation or misinformation or hate speech for the purposes of sowing discord or interfering in our internal affairs.”
Rubio went on to argue that when other countries complain about “misinformation” and “discord” on social media, they might have ulterior motives (he didn’t acknowledge that American journalists and politicians who complain about the same issues might have the same problem). He urged Sandberg and Dorsey not to treat other countries’ demands for censorship as “morally equivalent” to the United States’.
Marco Rubio has been a favored recipient of Facebook’s PAC, and was the only Republican presidential candidate to receive a campaign donation from the organization.