News roundup: more Senate heat for Facebook/Twitter, Huawei sells Honor, and VMware breaks into blockchain

A roundup of this week’s tech news, including more US Senate grilling for big tech, a blockchain venture for VMware, and the verdict on Apple’s M1 chips.

U.S. Capitol Building Washington, DC USA
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Zuckerberg and Dorsey face further heat from US senate

The ever influential CEOs of Facebook and Twitter Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey faced more bipartisan heat from the US senate this week, as part of a series of hearings in relation to the power and legal liability of social media giants. It marks the second time the pair have appeared before the senate over the last three weeks, with both Republicans and Democrats airing vastly differing grievances.

Overall, Republicans dominated the discussions, asking the pair 72 of the 127 questions, with 53 of these regarding how they moderate content on their platforms and particularly how the two companies could do less to moderate. 37 GOP questions revolved around censoring conservative voices and the ideological/political positions of their work forces. Meanwhile, Democrats only asked 14 questions about content moderation, with much of this being around the curbing of hate speech and violence.

Amongst many specific topics, the tech leaders were quizzed about their treatment of Steve Bannon, with Democratic senators asking why Facebook had not banned Bannon, as Twitter did, for his controversial comments calling for the beheadings of disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci and the FBI director Christopher Wray. Zuckerberg responded saying while Bannon "did violate our policies", he ultimately had not done enough to get himself banned.  

Republican senator Ted Cruz also swiped at Twitter, asking Dorsey why the platform was "putting purported warnings on virtually any statement about voter fraud". Dorsey’s response that they were merely linking people to conversations wasn’t enough for Cruz, which argued that they were “taking a disputed policy position” and that they were thus a publisher, as opposed to a distributor of information. Cruz said this meant they need to give up their section 230 protections, which enables them freedom from litigation over the content posted on their platforms.

Huawei sells off Honor

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