Senate votes to subpoena Facebook, Alphabet, Twitter ahead of 2020 election

All 3 companies have come under pressure to combat disinformation and bias

The Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday voted across party lines to subpoena Facebook, Alphabet and Twitter ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Fox News has confirmed.

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The committee is calling on all three tech giants, which play a huge role in how Americans get their news, to discuss their policies regarding bias, disinformation and privacy before Nov. 3.

"Technology companies argue that their broad liability shield should remain in place," Committee Chairman Roger Wicker, R-Miss., told Fox News in a statement. "However, they disproportionately suppress and censor conservative views online. Public testimony from these CEOs is critical as the Committee considers several proposals to reform the Communications Decency Act."

Sen. Ted Cruz called the companies "the robber barons of the twenty-first century" during Thursday's vote.

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Facebook faced scrutiny after the 2016 presidential election for not taking enough action against Russian troll farms pushing disinformation or otherwise politically bias posts on the social media platform with more than 2.5 billion worldwide users.

Facebook executives have testified before the Senate Commerce Committee three times since 2017, and Facebook executives, including founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, have testified more than 20 times before Congress since 2016.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The social media site has since made numerous policy changes and stepped up its efforts to combat misinformation and fake accounts using human moderators and artificial intelligence, including a policy to ban political ads two weeks ahead of the election.

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Twitter and Google, whose parent company is Alphabet, are also facing pressure to step up efforts to combat disinformation and bias ahead of Nov. 3, with many conservatives accusing the two tech giants of censoring conservative voices. All three companies have denied any kind of political bias.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey declined an invitation to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on July 29, though the company's policies did come up during the hearing.

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Fox Business' Edward Lawrence and Fox News' Lillian LeCroy contributed to this report.