House Republicans Request Documents From Twitter on Trump Censorship Policies

March 6, 2021 Updated: March 9, 2021

Republican Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Ken Buck (R-Colo.) made a renewed request to Twitter for documents related to the social media platform’s internal moderation policies.

They asked for “an accounting of all content moderation decisions” made by Twitter over the past year, and documentation on the decision to apply “fact check” notations to posts made by President Donald Trump about mail-in ballots and the “autonomous zone in Washington, D.C.”

The letter from the congressmen addressed to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey (pdf) says the platform played a “leading role” among Big Tech companies in enacting political censorship. During the election, Twitter suppressed news from a mainstream news outlet (New York Post) unfavorable to then-candidate Joe Biden’s son and then banned Trump’s account.

“Big Tech, especially Twitter, Inc., is engaged in systematic viewpoint-based discrimination. In the unfortunate phenomenon of ‘cancel culture,’ Twitter plays a leading role in silencing and censoring political speech of conservative Americans,” the letter reads.

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The suspended Twitter account of President Donald Trump appears on a laptop screen on Jan. 8, 2021. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“In recent months, Twitter throttled the dissemination of a mainstream newspaper article critical of then-candidate Joe Biden’s son and later took the unprecedented step of de-platforming the sitting President of the United States. If Twitter can do this to the President of the United States, it can do it to any American for any reason,” the letter reads.

The letter also states that Twitter failed to provide documents requested in July last year by Jordan, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), the top Republican on the chamber’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law, about the “examination of the size, competitiveness, and role of social media companies.”

They gave the social media platform a deadline of 5 p.m. on March 18.

The letter was also copied to Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

In November of last year, a number of Twitter posts by Trump regarding the election results and vote-counting irregularities were deleted by Twitter and Facebook.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Testifies At Joint Senate Commerce/Judiciary Hearing
Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington on April 10, 2018. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Since Nov. 5 of last year, more than a dozen posts or reposts by Trump were censored by Twitter. Some of the posts were hidden with labels that read, “Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process.”