IN THE HOT SEAT: Former Twitter Execs Attempt To Explain Censorship Actions Before House GOP

Former executives of social media giant Twitter — who were given their pink slips from billionaire owner Elon Musk — attempted to explain and rationalize the actions they took to censor the bombshell Hunter Biden laptop story that was published by the New York Post just days before the 2020 presidential election, in front of House Republicans on the House Oversight Committee Monday morning.

Honestly, there’s no real justification for the actions that were taken to prevent this story from being shared cross the web. No matter how you slice the cheese, this was election meddling. It’s been proven that if the story would have been allowed to spread, it would have had a major impact on the election and likely would have resulted in Trump having a second term as president. One could say that much of the suffering this country is now enduring under President Joe Biden’s leadership was caused by Twitter and other social media companies complying with the federal government on this issue.

Officials leading the social media platform created blacklists, prevented unfavorable tweets from trending, and restricted the visibility of entire accounts and trending topics without informing users. Republican lawmakers pressed former Chief Legal Officer Vijaya Gadde, former Deputy General Counsel James Baker, and former Global Head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth about their decisions to censor the Hunter Biden laptop story published by The New York Post shortly before the 2020 election,” the Daily Wire reported.

“Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) cited survey data indicating that many Americans who cast their ballots for President Joe Biden were unaware of the report and would have chosen another candidate if they had been informed of the story. He also lauded Musk, who acquired Twitter at the end of last year and presently serves as the company’s chief executive, for vowing to prioritize freedom of expression on the platform,” the report continued. “Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jamie Raskin (D-MD), on the other hand, contended that revelations of collusion between Twitter and various intelligence agencies chronicled by the Twitter Files were ‘authentically trivial’ and ‘silly.’ He said the hearing was “all based on the obsessive victimology of right-wing politics.'”

Internal documents from Twitter revealed that Baker, who was previously employed by the FBI as a general counsel, insisted to Roth that the materials contained on the now infamous laptop were either not real or hacked, despite the fact the NY Post included a receipt from the repair shop that was indeed signed by Hunter Biden himself. Baker gave testimony stating he was innocent and had done nothing wrong during his time working for the social media platform.

“I was not aware of and certainly did not engage in any conspiracy or other effort to do anything unethical, improper, or unlawful while I was at Twitter. Period,” he said to lawmakers in his opening statement. “I did not act unlawfully or otherwise inappropriately in any manner with respect to Hunter Biden’s laptop computer. Indeed, documents that Twitter has disclosed publicly reflect that I urged caution with respect to the matter and noted that we needed more information to fully assess what was going on and to decide what to do.”

Gadde, who had been pushing hard to see former President Donald Trump removed from Twitter and repeatedly denied that the company was covertly limiting the reach of various conservative accounts, actually attempted to defend the work she did monitoring the “health of the public conversation” while delivering her opening statement. However, she did acknowledge that whole debacle involving the Hunter Biden piece was mishandled.

“In hindsight, Twitter should have reinstated The New York Post’s account immediately given the circumstances,” she remarked. “There is no easy way to run a global communications platform that satisfies business and revenue goals, individual customer expectations, local laws, and cultural norms.”

The Daily Wire stated later on in the report, “Roth, unlike other executives, had spurned attempts by government agencies to acquire data from Twitter by noting the company’s policies against enabling surveillance activity. Evidence from the Twitter Files suggests that Roth, leading national security reporters, and fellow social media executives were nudged by intelligence agents to censor stories about a document dump related to foreign influence upon the Biden family. Roth nevertheless testified that the cooperation between social media firms and law enforcement was not political in nature.”

“In the recent reporting known as the Twitter Files, there was an attempt to portray interactions between Twitter and other social media platforms and the FBI as politically driven interference. My experience of these interactions was different,” he went on to say. “Across the FBI, DHS, and other agencies, the professionals responsible for combating malign foreign interference in elections did so with integrity, and the utmost care and respect for the laws of this country.”

He then confessed Twitter “made a mistake” concerning the Hunter Biden story as they attempted to apply policies the company had against hacked materials.

“I’ll be the first to admit that we didn’t always get it right,” he added. “Individual content moderation decisions will always be contentious, and reasonable minds can differ about whether a specific choice was right or wrong.”

Look, a mistake is an accident. What happened here was an egregious violation of the First Amendment. Twitter is a private company, but due to the fact they are a major resource of news and information, they have the same responsibilities as a publisher, which means they cannot silence a report based on political bias. Rather than attempt to make excuses for what happened, they should just own up to it and admit it shouldn’t have been done, leaving it at that.



Notice: This article may contain commentary that reflects the author's opinion.

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