Three former Twitter executives who were ousted by Elon Musk upon his purchase of the company are expected to testify on Wednesday morning before the House Oversight Committee.
Officials managing the social media platform built blacklists, prevented disfavored tweets from trending, and limited the visibility of entire accounts and trending topics without telling users. Lawmakers will question former Chief Legal Officer Vijaya Gadde, former Deputy General Counsel James Baker, and former Global Head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth about their decisions to censor information that may have impacted the outcome of the 2020 election.
“Big Tech and the Swamp colluded to censor reporting about the Biden family’s shady business schemes,” Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) said in a press release. “We also know members of Twitter’s top censorship team debated how they could justify limiting the spread of the story. They landed on a policy that even some among them doubted.”
Comer referenced The New York Post story released shortly before the 2020 presidential election which showed that Hunter Biden, the son of soon-to-be President Joe Biden, introduced his father to a Ukrainian businessman.
“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,” Comer added. “Accountability is coming.”
The House Oversight Committee, one of the most powerful in the lower chamber, works to “ensure the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the federal government and all its agencies.” Comer succeeded Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) as head of the committee after the Republican Party clinched a narrow majority in the House.
Baker, who previously worked as general counsel for the FBI, insisted to Roth that the materials from the unearthed laptop were either faked or hacked, even though The New York Post had included a receipt from the repair shop signed by Hunter Biden. There existed “an organized effort by representatives of the intelligence community” aimed at “senior executives at news and social media companies” to discredit “leaked information about Hunter Biden before and after it was published,” journalist Michael Shellenberger said in a release of the Twitter Files.
Roth had balked at other attempts by the FBI to acquire data from Twitter, explaining to staffers that the company had a “long-standing policy” barring the use of data for “surveillance and intelligence-gathering purposes.” When The New York Post article was published, Roth wrote in an email that the story was not “clearly in violation” of the company’s hacked materials policy or “anything else” but said the story felt “a lot like a somewhat subtle leak operation.”
More than 45% of Biden swing state voters said they were “unaware of the financial scandal enveloping Biden and his son, Hunter,” while awareness of the scandal would have led 9.4% of voters to choose another candidate, according to a poll from the Media Research Center. Biden won critical states such as Georgia, Arizona, and Wisconsin by narrow margins.
Gadde had pushed for the removal of former President Donald Trump from the platform and was among the executives who denied that Twitter covertly limited the reach of conservative accounts. “People are asking us if we shadow ban. We do not,” a blog post co-authored by Gadde herself said, even though a Twitter Files release from journalist Bari Weiss showed that the company had engaged in the practice for a number of years.