Washington, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Republican Leader Bob Latta (R-OH), and Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) issued the following statement after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to subpoena Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before their committee.
“Once again, we call on Chairman Pallone to join with us to protect the integrity of our elections and stop the censorship of political speech. It’s long past time for the Energy and Commerce Committee to compel the testimony of the CEOs of the powerful tech platforms.
“Big tech companies continue to censor right of center voices, with multiple examples this week alone. As this behavior becomes more frequent, their explanations become more inconsistent, and important news is being withheld from the American public. Whether these companies cite different platform policies or blame their algorithm for their censorship, there is a clear bias – implicit and explicit – on these platforms, preventing free speech and open dialogue. These companies have been afforded tremendous liability protections under a law enacted 25 years ago to promote the internet as ‘a forum for a true diversity of political discourse.’ Clearly these companies are not living up to that standard, and their liability protections should be reevaluated as they are overused to protect them from a multitude of allegations. While we thank our Senate colleagues for forcing these CEOs to testify, we also demand Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats stop sitting on the sidelines on online harms and censorship and start working to protect our democracy,” said Walden, Latta, and Rodgers.
Twitter and Facebook censored a story published by the New York Post documenting alleged correspondence between Hunter Biden, son of Democrat Presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden, with representatives from the Ukrainian company Burisma. The emails referenced in the story, if authentic, contradict previous statements made by Biden about his engagement and awareness of his son’s foreign business endeavors. Read more here.
Twitter restricted promotion of WinRed, the Republican fundraising platform, while not imposing the same restrictions on ActBlue, the Democrats’ fundraising platform. In response, Twitter’s official support account suggested it limited WinRed because the web domain it linked to contained a blog section.
Earlier this week, Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans sent a letter to Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) demanding a hearing on social media censorship with the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook, and Google. This letter comes as these tech giants continue to act more like publishers rather than neutral public forums as they selectively and inconsistently censor content during a major election cycle.
Republicans have yet to receive a response.