Former Twitter employees to testify at House hearing on Hunter Biden
Three former Twitter employees will testify before a House panel next week at a hearing focusing on the platform’s decision to limit the spread of a New York Post story about now-President Biden’s adult son Hunter Biden in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election.
Republicans are using their new majority in the chamber to push forward an agenda aimed at targeting social media companies over allegations of censoring conservative viewpoints.
Wednesday’s House Oversight and Accountability Committee hearing will feature testimony from Twitter’s former Chief Legal Officer Vijaya Gadde, former Deputy General Counsel James Baker and former Head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth, the committee announced Thursday.
The hearing is titled: “Protecting Speech from Government Interference and Social Media Bias, Part 1: Twitter’s Role in Suppressing the Biden Laptop Story.”
After Elon Musk took over control of Twitter as CEO at the end of October, closing his deal to purchase the company for $44 billion, he released some internal communications from Twitter staff about the decision to censor the New York Post story through a Twitter thread posted by journalist Matt Taibbi.
Republicans and right-wing media figures used the release of the communications in Taibbi’s thread to fuel their claims of censorship and accusations that the government was involved in discussions to get Twitter to remove the claims.
The thread, though, largely showed internal debates among employees over high-profile decisions and lacked details of influence from Democrats.
House Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) said in a statement that “Americans deserve answers about this attack on the First Amendment and why Big Tech and the Swamp colluded to censor this information about the Biden family selling access for profit. Accountability is coming.”
The hearing will likely highlight the partisan divide among lawmakers in regards to their angst over how Twitter and other social media companies moderate content.
Democrats, though, will likely have their own questions for the former Twitter staff. Democrats have broadly slammed Twitter and other social media companies for what they say is a lack of enforcement against hate speech and disinformation on the platforms.
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