Pompeo: ‘Dangerous’ for Twitter to take ‘non-viewpoint-neutral’ stance
In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Twitter’s decision to block a story in the New York Post about emails from Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden “dangerous.”
The interview with Pompeo focused on the historic signing of the Abraham Accords, a peace treaty which began normalizing relations between Bahrain, Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Partway through the article, reporter Salena Zito, who also reports for the New York Post, asked Pompeo for his thoughts on Twitter blocking access to a story on Hunter Biden published by the New York Post.
Pompeo said, “This is dangerous. It is dangerous when a powerful force like the communications tool which is Twitter adopts a non-viewpoint-neutral view of the world.” He also went on to praise social media companies for their work in taking down posts by terrorists and cooperating with the U.S. government, but stated that they can’t “allow disinformation.”
“They have to make a choice. Either it’s going to be viewpoint neutral, they can let a thousand flowers bloom, or they’re going to make a different decision,” said Pompeo. “And that decision can’t be based on whether it is supportive of this administration or attempting to undermine America. That’s just inappropriate.”
A private company such as Twitter is allowed to make policies and decisions based on their individual views. Like individuals, companies do have First Amendment rights to censor or block people and entities on their platforms for whatever reason they choose.
In March, the social media company took unprecedented action and placed a warning label on one of President Trump’s tweets for the first time due to “potentially misleading information about voting processes.” More recently it took down a tweet by White House coronavirus task force member Scott Atlas that questioned the efficacy of masks in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
In apparent retaliation for Twitter’s actions, Trump announced an executive order on preventing online censorship in May. Despite these actions, Twitter has expanded its misinformation policy, limiting what can be shared about the coronavirus and the election process.
Emails allegedly originating from a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden that was acquired from repair shop in Delaware appear to show Biden discussing his activities in Ukraine with his father. Although Twitter ultimately reversed its decision to block the story, fellow social media giant Facebook stood firm in its decision to limit the article’s shareability due to the unverified nature of the information reported.