U.S. Senate Sen. Schumer on Coronavirus Response CSPAN December 7, 2020 7:51pm-8:31pm EST
congress do when they are serious, when they are serious about wanting an outcome. drop the all or nothing tactics, drop the hostagetaking and make law and the many places where we have common ground. now that the country is counting on and that is how we can do right by the american people before christmas so let's get it done. >> as the winter months force more americans indoors infections are up, hospitalizations are i up and te number of americans dying from covid is steadily and tragically increasing. the economic fallout from the latest wave of the virus will also be a huge challenge and according to one study nearly 12 million renters below an average of nearly $6000 in back rents and utilities in january.
even the conservative u.s. chamber of commerces is sounding the alarm about double recession if congress does not pass another round of emergency federal relief before the end of the year. unfortunately, our efforts to sspass another emergency relief bill to the senate have been stalled for one reason, the republican leader has refused to compromise and again today, we heard the same old song from the , his decisionder has not budged since march. first he but the senate on pause while the spread of the virus got worse and worse. then, after pressure mounted the republican leader finally decided to put forward a series
of bills that compromised only the things that the republicans want. while the nation has been clamoring for a bipartisan solution the senate, under the leadership of the republican leader, has only been allowed to vote on partisan republican proposals and each of which has been sorely inadequate in each of which has contained poison pills designed to ensure that , the republican leader never mention those poison pills to the speeches of the chamber where he exploits democrats for fusing to past quote, bipartisan legislation that everyone agreed on but bipartisan does not mean democrats must agree to whatever the republican leader wants or whatever issues he picks. bipartisan means both sides of sitting down and finding an agreement and we all know that is the case andti they will need democratic votes inte the senate
so senate democrats are simply acting republican leader to do one thing, sit down and negotiate. now, since march, since secretary steven mnuchin and i negotiated the cares build the republican leader has constantly refused to sit downli with republicans and negotiate a bipartisan solution. he puts his bill with no democratic inputs on the floor and says take it or leave it. that is no way, no way to get things done did it wasn't in april or may or june or july or august or september or november and it isn't now. speaker, we want the leader to sit down and negotiate so we can come b up with a bipartisan proposal that can pass both the house and the senate. and speaker pelosi and i have modified our proposals several times in an effort to meet our
republican counterparts in the middle. lastur week speaker pelosi and i went even further and agreed to use a bipartisan bill crafted by moderate senators from both sides of the aisle as a framework for the negotiations and we have not heard the same willingness from the republican leader. however, there areen some encouraging signs in the bipartisan group of senators and house members working on this latest proposal continues to make progress and i was encouraged to see the senator from louisiana this weekend say it was hopeful that the president would sign such an agreement and let's use the work of the gang of eight as the basis for bipartisan negotiations and compromise. bottom line we have to get something done for the american people before the end of the year. we democrats have been trying since the spring back when
republicans were saying quote, they did not feel the urgency of acting. i believe those were the leaders words. well, it will take a sense of urgency now, mr. leader and will take a willingness to give a little, not just to put your bill on the floor and say take it or leave it. as i said, it is encouraging that some republicans are already on that path. hopefully, the republican leader can catch up with the more fair-minded members of his caucus. now, on nominations. another matter. the incoming biden administration continues to name candidates it will task to lead cabinet agencies and other key positions in the federal government. today, president-elect biden introduced his healthcare team including doctor anthony fauci who will stay on, thank god, as chief medical advisor. doctor murphy to serve as surgeon general, doctor wilensky to head the cdc and hobby of
becerra attorney general of california to be the next secretary of health and human services. like most of president biden's elect selections of our mr. becerra's nomination is groundbreaking. he would be for the first latino to ever run the deferment of health and human services. now these nominees once confirmed will face a monumental task. president-elect biden will inherit a once in a generation healthcare crisis, crisis made worse by the trump administration's lack of focus, competency and consistency over the past year. by naming a deeply experience and tested team of senior healthcare advisors president-elect biden is getting ready to write the ship and execute a whole of government approach to crush the virus and provide affordable healthcare to all americans.
as safe and effective vaccine become available over the next year president-elect biden's teamk will also have to work wih states and healthcare providers to get americans vaccinated. to state the obvious healthcare is going to be the number one challenge when the new administration takes office. we are in the middle of a once in a century public health crisis and accordingly president-elect biden's a team should be confirmed swiftly to ensure that no time is lost in the fight against the pandemic. regrettably, there is a split screen this week between the seriousness of the incoming biden administration and activities of the republican majority here in the senate. on tuesday the republican chairman of the homeland screening committee has invited doctor jane orient to give testimony at a hearing in his committee and doctor orient is a member of the association of american physicians and surgeons
of the benign sounding name that obscures dangerous policies. according to "the new york times" doctor orient's association quote, opposes government involvement in medicine nd and views federal vaccine mandates was a violation of the human rights. doctor orient herself has expressed skepticism about coronavirus vaccines and continues to hawk hydroxychloroquine as covid-19 treatment following the lead of president trump who boosted the drug despite scientific evidence that it is ineffective. so while president biden is nominating experienced admitted public servants to leave lead be in ministrations health care policy the next administration's healthcare policy the republic and majority is inviting prominent anti- factors to senate committee hearings. a study in contrast to say the
least. after one of the most difficult years in recent memory we finally have a light at the end of the tunnel amid the discovery of several effective and safe vaccines and the best chance we have of envy the terrible scores of this disease and getting our lives back to normal. and yet, the effectiveness of the vaccine only matters in so far as the number of americans who are willing to take it. the more senate republicans dip their toes into the water of these antiscience, anti- vax conspiracy theories the more damage it does to our country. public figures at all levels should be building up confidence in a vaccine and not giving a platform to those who would undermine it. the senator from wisconsin, the chairman of homeland security committee should evoke his invitation to doctor orient. i yield the floor.
>> next, on "the communicators". chief policy officer for parler talks about its influx of new users since the election and how it differs from facebook and twitter. after that the un's achieve humanitarian aid official looks at how the coronavirus has impacted his work. hearing on cyber threats during the coronavirus pandemic. >> you are watching c-span2 your unfiltered view of government. created by america's cable television comedy as a public service and brought to today by your television provider. >> host: joining us this week on the committee caters is amy who is the chief policy officer for a social media site called parler. what is parler? >> guest: thank you for having me on. parler is, like you said, a social media website but we envision ourselves as rebooting social media and to make it what
it was originally intended which is to provide a free and open platform, a public square if you will for free speech and we also have a substantial focus on privacy, protecting individual privacy. >> host: well, as many people do when they're trying to research a new place or a new thing my i went to wikipedia and want to get your reaction to what is on your wikipedia page and it says parler markets itself as free speech and unbiased alternatives to mainstream social networks such as twitter and facebook however, journalists and users have criticized the service for content policies that are more restrictive than the company portrays. >> guest: we have heard some of those criticisms but i had not seen evidence that really backs it up. if you read our community guidelines you will see that we permit the widest possible
amount of speech consistent with a lot because of course we were not allow our platform to be used as a tool for crime or anything else but within that we are in the spirit of the first amendment and are viewpoint neutral so to the extent that there is human beings involved in the process we have a community jury and sometimes the jury is fallible, even with a system but otherwise no, we are viewpoint neutral and train our jurors to be neutral and we are probably the most permissive platform on the web consistent with law. >> host: when and why it was parler founded? >> guest: so, it was founded in 2018, couple of years ago, by john and jared thompson and also rebecca mercer that people have been reading recently was also involved at the beginning providing funding. they observed that there were two big problems with social
media. again, they were becoming speech restrictive and at the same time they were not respecting the privacy of individuals or data mining or as we heard in the hearings yesterday and in the senate data strip mining was a news phrase that we are today but data mining to a large extent and neither of them, none of them were satisfied with that and they decided that they instead of wood just complaining they would go out and start their own platform and try to compete which is the american approach to problems like this. >> is parler a conservative site or an alternative for conservatives? >> guest: parler has provided a platform that is an alternative for many conservatives who recently have felt that they have been mistreated on other platforms but it is not intended as a conservative platform and again we are viewpoint neutral and many of the people who were in parler who don't think of
themselves as either liberal or conservative what we believe in is free speech and allowing that alternative for people has been a particular use to conservatives because they have felt that they have not been treated with transparency consistently applied policies on the other platform and they trust us because they know that we are again allowing the most amount of speech possible consistent with law. >> how many followers at this point? >> guest: in terms of account i know we have ten and a half-million now which is 6 million from just a few weeks ago so it's been quite a lot of pro recently and we might be approaching a billion or more but i haven't caught up with it in a couple of days. >> host: has parler to the profit as of yet? >> guest: i'm not sure about that turning a profit part but i do know that there has been a
substantial amount of advertising revenue and we started to ramp up our monetization model so i'm not sure exactly but those are the many people you will have to talk to. >> host: joining our conversation as well is coral of communications daily. >> hello amy. i wanted to ask you about twitter's handling of the president's twitter account, particularly since the election and what has been the conversation at parler? >> guest: obviously we don't do anything like what twitter has been doing and what twitter has been doing and jack dorsey was explaining it at some length yesterday they have been putting tags on the president's tweets and those tags will take you to
links in which they provide what they call, context, broader context for the information the president puts in his tweet or argument or position he puts in his tweet. with that also calms some restriction you need to read through the of other twitter users to engage with the tweets and there have been studies showing that there is quite a bit of restriction that comes with twitter putting that label on the tweet. it is not just the label and then everything is the same otherwise there is a significant reduction in engagement with that material or whenever they do this. we do not do that on parler. the tack we take an parler is similar to what senator kennedy talked about in the senate hearing with dorsey and zuckerberg. we allow people to think for themselves so just as kennedy
was questioning the two of them saying do you believe everything you read and no, of course not. we don't think that any person who goes on to a platform like parler or twitter or facebook should just take everything on their that they sell you just because it's been put out there in the world but we think people should be thinking critically for themselves and so we will not put a band-aid on anything or give them a crutch or anything else but we will not encourage them to outsource their critical thinking. we think they should go ahead and look at the tweet from a president or parler from the president as if he does come to parler and ask himself if it's necessarily true just because the president says it's true. maybe i need to check some other sources, especially if it's a significant claim that could affect something that is very important. perhaps i should look into the facts behind it.
so, we do disagree with the policies that they take and we do think of course it's a private company twitter has the right to do it and we do not call it censorship. there was one thing we heard in the hearing as well. you have this false alternative that they were presenting you with. on the one hand it was either censorship and wrong and that was the conservative view or a lot of the democrats would say that it's not censorship and in fact, they do not believe that twitter or facebook were doing enough to combat so-called misinformation. at parler we think both of those approaches are wrong. we think that what twitter and facebook are doing is not censorship. only governor sensors but if you say censorship you are implying that there is a government solution to the problem and somehow they are doing what government does but they are not doing that. it's not censorship. at the same time we do think it is wrong because we do think it's best for people to be in the practice of thinking for themselves, not outsourcing
their thinking to anybody else. we don't do that at parler. >> a president trump where the projected winner and biden were claiming victory, how would parler handled the situation? would it take action? >> no. no. same story. we treat everybody equally. you know, if you come on and you are putting some things out there that are violations of l law, such as child pornography and all the usual suspects then we are going to treat you as violating our community guidelines and inappropriate cases when there are insight mitts and threats we will cooperate with law enforcement but other than that everybody's viewpoint neutral and there are people on the platform obviously who don't like a liberal viewpoint and so there are some people that say this is supposed to be a conservative platform and so why is this and they will
try to report it but our jurors are trained and we have be viewpoint neutral and do not camino, either ban content or people or anybody else from our platform simply for having a different view. we would treat joe biden know differently and we invite joe biden to come on, come on to parler bread you could beat the president and it's been rumored the president was going to join us and maybe joe biden should be first. >> should content moderation, should it be totally hands-off? >> guest: it can't ever be totally hands-off because again we do not want to and nor does the law permit us to have our platform be used as a tool for any sort of crime or any sort of intellectual property violation in addition to the other examples i gave. you can be completely hands-off and it also we do not want to allow people to be impersonated on a platform so we provide assistance with those sorts of things as well. it can be completely hands-off
but again, we believe that it is the best approach when you're talking about hate speech or so-called misinformation or anything else to address those problems with more speech, not with any type of content restrictions. we have to act accordingly. >> host: amy peikoff, how do you monitor what is happening on your site? >> guest: obviously, when we are on our site we can see things ourselves, the employees, but primarily what we rely on is a community jury system whereby any person who is on parler, user of parler can report a piece of content so we have a drop-down menu and if you go to the upper right of any parlay or other content and you can report that piece of content and their is a way where there's different violations and you can include facts et cetera. that goes into our community jury portal and are all interior
jurors will look at that piece of content and get training on regular basis and can tell whether or not it's a violation and it's a quorum system so it requires a majority of a jury panel in order to deem it a violation but then also what we do have is we have a special notation that they can put in which if they think the content as illegal and should be immediate removed from the platform and gets escalated more quickly so that is -- >> host: you have used the term parler and parlay. what is the correct pronunciation? where did that name come from? >> guest: i admit, i've been working our sense of delight when i first saw the name of the platform and i took french in high school i thought it should be pronounced parlay but they had already, you know, just started pronouncing it parler
and that's just how it's always been. i think we sort of make up for that a little because instead of the tweet the posts on parler or card parlays but it's spelled, course, like parlay is in a normal english parlay. it is to have a discussion that bridges competing viewpoints coming to an understanding between people of two different viewpoints. we love that connotation because it's exactly the discussion we are trying to foster. >> host: i want to go back one more time to the wikipedia page. usually wikipedia is pretty neutral but it seems to be a little bit slanted in this wikipedia description of parler and says parler has a significant user base of trump supporters, conservatives and right-wing extremists.
>> guest: we do have quite a number of conservatives on the platform now and it is for the reasons i stated that we have policies that i would say encourages user trust in the sense that we are very transparent about what we do with our content and we also are very you know, considerate of and respectful of user privacy and we don't do any data mining at all and none of our advertising is targeted in any way except for if somebody chooses to follow a particular influencer, he or she might see ads that have come to our influencer network so our policies are very different and i think they do, you know, encourage user trust and i would say the first group, significant group of people who decided that they would give up the comfort of the familiar over at facebook and twitter were a lot of
conservatives who felt they were mistreated on the other platforms and so they would come out and give us a try. but not we are seeing all sorts of people from i'm hearing this morning that we're having a substantial number of fitness experts, health and fitness experts who also feel they've been mistreated and those people run the ideological spectrum. as different people for different reasons have found that they are dissatisfied with the other platforms and they see enough of their friends are over on parler now that we are growing they will give it a shot and what we plan is to them enough features and a good enough user experience and to earn their trust so that we can continue to keep the business. >> host: back to carl. >> i wanted to follow up on peter's question. i mentioned hn, two platforms were hate groups and hate speech are of the on ramp to sweat, policies does parler have in place to prevent the platform from becoming anything like th
that? >> guest: there is one thing i think that makes us a bit different from other platforms and i'm not familiar with the operation of fortune our hn and what they may or may not due to sort of fan the flames of hate among groups but some of the algorithms that facebook and twitter have been rumored to use and if you saw the social dilemma you would have seen some of this, i think those will actually make the problems of hate and hate groups worse because insofar as they were designed to increase engagement and to put content in front of people in their feeds and they were more likely to feel actually positive or extreme a negative about and that is the sort of think they were doing over the years. i think it did encourage that. on parler we do not have in our
community guidelines any prohibitions against so-called hate speech and it is largely for the reasons that you see in this book that focuses from hate, why we should resist it with free speech and not some sort and the professor who was also the head of the aclu, the nationwide head of the aclu for many years, she explained how insofar as there have been hate speech restrictions whether they are on social media but especially as they had been legislatively in countries throughout the world that they have probably served to be counterproductive and that the best answer and she says we should resist it and we should resist tape of the best way to do it is with more speech and so for those reasons and because there is a significant portion of so-called hate speech that is perfect detected by the first
amendment and the first amendment will protect hate speech, so-called hate speech as far as it is not any sort of incitement to violence or threats. those are already illegal. of course, those we do not permit. >> both facebook ceo mark zuckerberg and twitter ceo jack dorsey yesterday both spoke in favor of more transparency regarding algorithms. his parler in favor of that train of thought? would you be in favor of more transference either? >> guest: we are in support of more transparency but if you listen closely he repeatedly used the opportunity given by some of the questions to tout the transparency programs they have and so what he does, i guess they put together a report or quarterly report that he's been talking about the way in which the platform treats various categories of
objectionable content in some of that, of course, is the type of content that we of course prohibit on parler because it is illegal in some of the types of contexts they may handle in that report might be things that they prohibited in their community guidelines that we don't but in any event what he was eager to do yesterday, apparently, he called for it a few times even when he was speaking with ben sasse and ben sasse said especially he's not for government solutions to solve this problem? zuckerberg was asking for regulations around his fancy and the regulations that he described which would require the same types of reports with all the extensive data analysis that they do in those reports and plus he was hinting that may be in addition to the transparency itself that there would be a minimum level of so-called effectiveness dealing with the various types of speech and perhaps even the types of speech that we do not prohibit in our community guidelines and is that was put in place that would, at the minimum create a
barrier to entry that would make it impossible for smaller people to compete or smaller startups to compete because facebook has this extensive infrastructure in which they have invested a whole of money. second, it might make it, the types of speech that will be involved are again going to be hate speech and other kinds of things we do not prohibit then they will make it impossible to compete in a way that involves a different set of guidelines as to what speech is permitted on the platform and in effect they would make their community guidelines the industry norm mandated by government which is, in effect, censorship by proxy. right now we are saying allow the maximum amount of speech permitted by the first amendment and they are saying in effect with its regulate that await make that impossible.
>> i wanted to escrow quick has parler had any conversations with offices on capitol hill about sending the ceo to testify? >> guest: there was at one point an inquiry with respect to an antitrust hearing to get some of our sons on issues about it but there have not been any sense yet about having them testify. of course, you know it's only been in the last couple of weeks where parler has grown so significantly that i think that might become the real option. i think it would be good to have a representative of parler there as well to talk about this because again there are real options but one of the main focuses they had in hearing as you heard yesterday was that everyone was supposed to agree that section 230 needs to be revised and there was one person who said that somehow the internet has outgrown section 230 but i don't know if you're familiar with there was a statement that justice clarence thomas gave saint there was a denial of tertiary in the case
versus enigma and justice thomas and some length details the ways in which section 230, he believes, has been misinterpreted as currently written and how you can interpret it correctly and thereby solve a lot of the problems by that the congressmen were discussing yesterday in the hearing. for example, justice thomas indicates by interpreting section 230, the language as it is, appropriately you do not have to give immunity for all of the content or the selecting or editing and there is the phrase, does the platform create or develop content. it doesn't have to be deemed a publisher to be held liable in some other ways for the creation or development of certain contacts or content. similarly, for decisions to remove certain types of content you don't have to be a publisher
to be liable for your actions and similarly to discuss the structuring of the output and the weight the user interface is designed et cetera and he indicated that by this narrower interpretation of section 230 which the language supports that you might not need to do anything to section 230 and i happen to be of the belief that if you have a compromise between those two sides which, in effect, provide a false alternative what you will get somebody that is much worse than what we currently have. might in fact shutdown social media as we know it. >> host: amy peikoff, two questions. the first one is you referenced a couple of times a spurt of growth in parler in the last couple of weeks. why is that? >> guest: you know, is one of the things i've said before is i believe that a lot of the last forms have started losing the trust of their customers.
for example, i have friends who are not particularly political and they were complaining about how facebook, every single thing they posted, even things that didn't seem to be related to the election would get the little tags and things on it and all this election -related information was in their face and maybe they were just trying to forget about it so some of the decisions the other platforms have made are starting to annoy people enough that when they hear that there is an alternative platform and if they go past the wikipedia entry into research and learn that we are unbiased and we are neutral and we don't just say only conservatives are welcome et cetera they might come over and give us a try but you know, i do think it is right that there was a coordinated movement among some people conservatives who thought that they were being deprived of a voice on the other platforms and bought a lot of
other people came over as well and we had a lot of liberals come over because they want to criticize those conservatives and if all those conservatives have left to the other platforms and want to engage with them sometimes they want to install them or have discussions they come on over. >> host: and, secondly, what is your level of comfort or where do you see the government's role in mediating or being involved in social media? >> guest: i think government doesn't need to be any more involved than it is right now. i think we do have section 230 that says i think, i agree with justice thomas feared that if we just took the language that may be looked at a better interpretation of it it does the work that needs to be done. i do not think that the earnest act would be anything advisable but i think the dangers of the privacy advocacy groups have
been talked about in respect to earn it and the danger that it poses for encryption is a real danger and that is something i hope will not pass. similarly, i don't think section 230 should be revised in any of the regulations that are being called for, i think we will just entrench the bigger platforms and once you entrench the bigger platforms and create all these barriers to entry everyone will be dissatisfied and think that the only solution is some sort of partnership between social media and government and i think if you start having too much partnership between social media and government what you end up with is -- this will sound like an exaggeration but if you think about it social media transmits information in the other platforms suck up a lot of personal data about it and if you put that together with government what do you get? you get 1984 internet fiction book into an instruction manual.
i think keeping them apart as much as possible is very desirable. >> host: carl, we have five minutes left. >> are there any pieces of legislation elated to section 230 that the company is supportive or open to? >> guest: no. again, i think the best thing to look at is whether the interpretations of the current language are correct and in so far as people are dissatisfied with the ways that companies are exercising the latitude that they have under section 230 then the true solution to that is a free market solution. go find a competitor who is providing exactly what you want and give them your business. why would you want to continue to help monetize a platform that is restricting what you can see and trying to keep you engaged
and maybe do things to get you addicted which is something they were talking about yesterday as well and we don't do that and we give you a purely chronological seat and we do not do anything to try to enhance engagement or anything else. i think ours is a little bit more friendly to an individual who wants to put themselves on a good social media diet where it's a benefit to your life and not something you get addicted to. come over and try a different alternative and give them your business, don't continue to monetize either the platforms that treat you like commodities or, you know, otherwise get you addicted and treat you badly and dehumanize you, and away. >> the fcc is conducting a rulemaking to reinterpret section 230 which was initiated by an executive order from president trump. what are parler thoughts on that?
>> guest: it is not clear in which way it would go based on the executive order and there has been some speculation about it but, you know, i don't know exactly what the current interpretation is that will be favored and i would look at an overall narrow interpretation like the one that justice thomas was discussing again in that statement with malware by enigma. it is the fcc was going to use that as some sort of guidance and maybe it would be a well-informed thing but, you know, personally i think that trump did not like the way he was being treated and yes, i can understand because we disagreed with some of the ways he has been treated again on twitter but i think the solution and the proper american solution is a free-market one. go to a competitor. >> host: amy peikoff, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved in chief policy officer for parler. >> guest: assure, i am an attorney and