Sparked by Twitter and Facebook’s blocking of a negative New York Post article about Hunter Biden, ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform James Comer (R-Ky.) and other top republicans on Thursday urged Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) to hold an emergency hearing on election interference and Big Tech’s censorship.
Many Republican lawmakers took to Twitter to call out the tech giants for restricting and blocking the distribution of the Post’s story alleging, according to obtained documents now allegedly with the FBI, that Joe Biden may have lied about not meeting with a top Ukrainian gas firm executive at the time of his vice presidency. At the time, his son Hunter Biden held a paid position on the board of the gas firm, Burisma.
Facebook told users that it is limiting the reach of the article until it is fact-checked by a third party. Twitter took a similar approach and blocked the article calling it “potentially spammy or unsafe.”
“Big Tech’s silencing of conservative viewpoints and censorship of news undermines the integrity of the 2020 election and harms Americans’ First Amendment right to freedom of speech,” the GOP members wrote in their letter to Maloney.
“Since the election is in only 19 days and other Big Tech platforms continuously limit speech based on political ideology, we must immediately hold a hearing to learn who is responsible for making these decisions and what policies enable Big Tech to selectively limit speech on social media,” the Republican members continued.
President Donald Trump, conservatives, and classical liberals have said that Big Tech companies like Twitter, Google, and Facebook have engaged in the censorship of their viewpoints, while simultaneously allowing far-left viewpoints to flourish with impunity.
“Facebook and Twitter’s censorship of American journalism is part of a broader pattern by Big Tech to selectively suppress news and silence conservative views that don’t square with their liberal agenda. This is not the American way and cannot be tolerated,” said Comer.
“The power behind these platforms” has been “taken to a level that is truly dangerous,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said, stressing to Democratic-leaning individuals: “It could be you tomorrow.”
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) went further, saying Twitter’s “attempt to rig the election by monopolies is unprecedented in American history.”
Twitter and Facebook did not respond to a request for comment. But in a rare statement on Wednesday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey apologized after the NY Post said its account had been locked.
“Our communication around our actions on the @nypost article was not great. And blocking URL sharing via tweet or DM with zero context as to why we’re blocking: unacceptable,” Dorsey said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee said Thursday they would be issuing a subpoena to Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, saying that blocking the Biden report may constitute election interference given the country is 19 days away from Nov. 3.
“This is election interference and we are 19 days out from an election,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told reporters on Thursday, adding that the Judiciary Committee “will issue a subpoena to Jack Dorsey” for next Friday, Oct. 23.
Cruz and Chairman Graham said they will hold a vote on issuing a subpoena.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.