On Wednesday morning, the House Oversight Committee initiated a series of hearings that centered on the censorship of news related to Hunter Biden’s laptop and the data it held. The witnesses who testified included Vijaya Gadde, the former Chief Legal Officer of Twitter, James Baker, the former Deputy General Counsel, and Yoel Roth, the former Global Head of Trust & Safety.
🚨 BREAKING: Yoel Roth admits Twitter was wrong to block the Hunter Biden laptop story. pic.twitter.com/Wi85Uz5dqe
— Media Research Center (@theMRC) February 8, 2023
Under oath, Roth acknowledged that Twitter’s choice to suppress The New York Post’s articles was a “mistake.” He stated in his testimony that it was similar to the 2016 Russian hack-and-leak operation aimed at the DNC and that, with limited information, Twitter erred in blocking the sharing of links to the articles on its platform.
Former Twitter exec Yoel Roth admits the @nypost’s Hunter Biden’s laptop story didn’t violate any of Twitter’s policies.
Yet Twitter censored the story anyway.
@RepAndyBiggsAZ calls out this election interference. pic.twitter.com/zGryHVeWpo
— Oversight Committee (@GOPoversight) February 8, 2023
AOC calls Twitter's censoring of the Hunter Biden laptop story "a 24-hour hiccup in a right-wing political operation."
"We're talking about Hunter Biden's half fake laptop story? This is an embarrassment!" pic.twitter.com/VIEnQWWtUf
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) February 8, 2023
According to Townhall, the decision to label discussions about Hunter Biden’s laptop as “unsafe” was taken by the top management of the company without informing CEO Jack Dorsey. A former employee described the decision as “freelancing” and Twitter persisted in limiting discussions regarding the laptop, invoking “lessons from 2016” and resolved to keep “preventing this content from being amplified.”
During an exchange with Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Roth was unable to specify a rule that The New York Post’s coverage of Hunter Biden’s laptop broke, or present any evidence of a supposed government determination that the laptop was obtained through hacking. Democrats on the Oversight Committee attempted to downplay the implications of the apparent collaboration between big tech companies and influential Democrats.
The Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, James Comer (R-KY), is committed to examining how the government has exploited its ties with tech companies that are sympathetic to its views, to sidestep Americans’ First Amendment rights. This series of hearings is only the start of the investigation, and it will be intriguing to observe what other revelations emerge in the future.
The Twitter Files has been an eye-opening look into how far tech companies are willing to go to protect their own interests. It is clear that Twitter made a mistake in censoring The New York Post’s stories and it will be interesting to see how this impacts their policies and practices in the future. It is important for tech companies to be held accountable for their actions and for citizens to be able to trust that their First Amendment rights are being respected.
The preceding article is a summary of an article that originally appeared on Townhall