GOP lawmakers call on Twitter to ban Chinese Communist Party from the platform

GOP lawmakers call on Twitter to ban Chinese Communist Party from the platform
© Getty

Two Republican lawmakers on Friday called on Twitter to ban the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from its platform following a surge in Chinese misinformation around the coronavirus. 

Sen. Ben SasseBen SasseWhite House cyber chief backs new federal bureau to track threats Sasse calls China's Xi a 'coward' after Apple Daily arrest Defunct newspaper's senior editor arrested in Hong Kong MORE (R-Neb.) and Rep. Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherWisconsin GOP quietly prepares Ron Johnson backup plans The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi considers adding GOP voices to Jan. 6 panel Ron Johnson: 'I may not be the best candidate' for 2022 midterms MORE (R-Wis.) sent a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey strongly urging him to remove the CCP from the platform, and to block access to Twitter for any other foreign officials that ban the use of Twitter in their countries. 

“While the coronavirus pandemic is afflicting families, governments, and markets around the world, the Chinese Communist Party is waging a massive propaganda campaign to rewrite the history of COVID-19 and whitewash the Party’s lies to the Chinese people and the world,” Gallagher and Sasse wrote. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Twitter is blocked in China, Iran, and North Korea, but according to the lawmakers the CCP spreads misinformation on the platform outside of China, an issue Gallagher and Sasse heavily criticized.

“By banning Twitter in China, the Chinese Communist Party is keeping its citizens in the dark,” they wrote. “By putting propaganda on Twitter, the Chinese Communist Party is lying to the rest of the world.”

The lawmakers asked that Dorsey respond to several questions around how Twitter decides which officials are allowed to access the platform, how Twitter views tweets from the CCP and how Twitter rationalizes allowing the CCP to tweet out misinformation. 

“It is clear that Chinese Communist Party officials are using Twitter to disseminate propaganda in the midst of a dangerous global crisis,” Gallagher and Sasse wrote. “Even worse, this propaganda obscures and confuses users over the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and potentially undermines efforts to contain and control the outbreak. We believe this behavior more than warrants their removal from the platform.”

Twitter has taken steps to limit misinformation on its platform, including expanding its policy around coronavirus misinformation this week to include a wider amount of content. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The letter was sent the same day Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoNoem to travel to South Carolina for early voting event Poll: Trump leads 2024 GOP primary trailed by Pence, DeSantis Pence v. Biden on China: Competing but consistent visions MORE said during a press conference that China, Russia, and Iran were actively working to spread misinformation around the coronavirus pandemic. 

"There are coordinated efforts to disparage what America is doing and our activity to do all the things President TrumpDonald TrumpFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries Missouri Rep. Billy Long enters Senate GOP primary Trump-backed Mike Carey wins GOP primary in Ohio special election MORE has set into motion," Pompeo said.

The European Union also found evidence earlier this week that Russia was seeking to sow discord and create chaos through spreading coronavirus misinformation on social media.