Senate committee votes to subpoena Twitter, Facebook CEOs over censorship allegations
October 22, 2020
The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to authorize subpoenas for the CEOs of Twitter and Facebook after both sites suppressed the spread of a New York Post exposé on their platforms last week for allegedly violating their “hacked materials” policies.
The exposé revealed ever-before-seen emails The Post obtained reportedly from Hunter Biden’s laptop. It also shows that Hunter Biden allegedly leveraged the position of his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, when he was the public face of the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy and while Hunter was being paid to sit on the board of a corrupt Ukrainian energy company called Burisma Holdings.
The Post was supposedly given a hard drive containing the emails that came from a laptop given to a repair shop in Delaware. It has been alleged that the laptop belonged to Hunter Biden. Twitter and Facebook argued that, since The Post did not own the emails or hard drive, it violated their “hacked materials” policy. The two social media companies were subsequently accused of censoring journalists and whistleblowers, violating a free press.
Another caveat to this story is that the laptop and hard drive were connected to a late 2019 FBI investigation into allegations of money laundering, the bureau has confirmed. The bureau has also verified that the published contents of the hard drive are authentic.
All 12 Republican committee members voted in favor of the action on Thursday, while the committee Democrats protested the vote over the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, the vetting of whom the Judiciary Committee oversaw. No date for this hearing has been announced.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, as well as Alphabet (Google’s parent company) CEO Sundar Pichai are already set to appear before the Senate Commerce Committee on October 28 regarding user privacy and supposed bias in moderating content posted to their platforms by users.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.