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After a Chinese diplomat tweeted a photoshopped image of an Australian soldier knifing an Afghani girl, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio slammed Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey for the site's unwillingness to crack down on Chinese Communist Party propaganda.
"Twitter has had more than 36 hours to identify, investigate, and evaluate a tweet sent by Zhao Lijian, the deputy director-general of China's Information Department, that contains the doctored image that depicts a violent act that may in turn inspire other violent acts," Rubio prefaced a letter addressed to Dorsey.
The Chinese spokesperson captioned the sensationalist photo, which falsely portrays a smirking Australian soldier holding a bloody knife to the throat of a young Afghan child. "Shocked by [the] murder of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian soldiers. We strongly condemn such acts, & call for holding them accountable," he tweeted.
Amid outrage from conservatives, Zhao has pinned the post Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison even requested for the graphic image to be taken down.
Rubio, whose Senate persona has spotlighted confrontations with the CCP, reprised increasing concerns about Big Tech's gatekeeping power in the geopolitical arena.
Distinguishing the stark contrast between how the social media platform handles provocations from Beijing and how the medium frames President Donald Trump‘s fiery election-related tweets, Rubio contended that Twitter “made an intentional decision not to remove the tweet or even issue a warning label.”
“We know your company has the ability to move rapidly, as it frequently issued warning labels on tweets of prominent Americans during the election — sometimes within minutes of a tweet being sent,” Rubio remarked.
Conceding that it is Twitter's "right as a private company" to "regulate, moderate, and censor speech," Rubio pointed to this alleged "inconsistency" that "raises questions of whether Twitter specifically should be eligible for Section 230 protections that alleviates liability that publishers bear as content owners.
As Congress continues to evaluate outdated technology laws, Rubio prodded Dorsey to answer a series of questions on Twitter's review process.
“The American people increasingly see mainstream social media, especially Twitter, as little more than a liberal echo chamber inclined to censor conservatives. I share their concern, especially when enemies of America are allowed to post falsified and dangerously misleading images with no consequence,” Rubio concluded.
In mid-October, the senator asserted that “egregious instances of censorship & partisan content moderation by social media companies like Twitter and Facebook are brazen attempts to twist & manipulate America’s public square.”
Urging Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai to take action amid Twitter's suppression of the New York Post's Hunter Biden bombshell, Rubio fired: "The once nascent, scrappy internet companies that benefited from the protections afforded by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act have become Goliaths intent on twisting and manipulating America’s public square to their liking."
“The New York Post censorship saga is only the latest example of this consistent effort by Silicon Valley giants," the senator wrote in an Oct. 15 press release. "Twenty days before the presidential election, it is also one of the most egregious.”
This manipulation appears to be in play beyond the nation’s borders. Rubio's implicit question to Dorsey boils down to, Whose side are you on?