Post-poll grilling for Facebook, Twitter

The heads of Facebook and Twitter will be grilled by US senators after the election.
The heads of Facebook and Twitter will be grilled by US senators after the election.

The heads of Facebook and Twitter have agreed to face questioning by US senators over their handling of a controversial New York Post story in the run-up to the presidential election.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter boss Jack Dorsey will voluntarily appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on November 17, two weeks after the election.

The Republican-dominated committee on Thursday voted to subpoena the two chief executives to appear after their platforms limited the spread of a Post story containing difficult-to-verify accusations about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

The story was based on a batch of emails obtained from the laptop supposedly left by Biden's son Hunter at a repair shop, suggesting that the elder Biden had used his former position as vice president to enrich his son.

Twitter initially blocked users from sharing the article, saying it had violated its hacked materials policy, but later clarified it would no longer block hacked material unless directly released by hackers.

Facebook said it would reduce distribution of the article pending fact-checking.

Committee Chair Senator Lindsey Graham, a staunch ally of President Donald Trump, said next month's hearing would "provide a valuable opportunity to review the companies' handling of the 2020 election."

Australian Associated Press