Josh Hawley sends letter to Elon Musk after he buys Twitter, says ‘open the books,’ expose censorship
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Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) wrote a public letter to Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Wednesday after his takeover of Twitter, urging him to “open the books” and fully expose the blatant ongoing censorship that has reportedly taken place on the social media platform.
Hawley contended that the tech icon needs to expose “who Twitter has shadow banned, who Twitter has suspended, who they’ve throttled, and who was responsible for the egregious censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop reporting.”
“Make it all public,” the senator stated.
In the letter, Hawley congratulated Musk on buying Twitter and lauded him for his commitment to free speech.
Here’s an idea for @elonmusk. Open the books on who Twitter has shadow banned, who Twitter has suspended, who they’ve throttled, and who was responsible for the egregious censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop reporting. Make it all public pic.twitter.com/gbLaaUXuR4
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) April 26, 2022
“There’s certainly a lot of work to be done. Twitter has largely evaded accountability over the past several years. Since I’ve been in the Senate, I’ve sent a number of oversight inquiries to the company. These letters cover subjects as diverse as content moderation policies, viewpoint discrimination, suppression of content, and Twitter’s own security. Twitter, not surprisingly, has effectively ignored these requests,” Hawley continued in the letter.
“But perhaps most importantly, all the way back in 2019 I sent a letter to Twitter urging the company to ‘conduct a third-party audit and release the results to the public, in full,'” he added.
“Now you have the chance to make that kind of audit a reality. In recent years, Twitter has intervened in American discourse with an increasingly heavy hand, attempting to shape the information environment for overtly partisan reasons. Algorithms didn’t make those calls; employees did. And at this point, the American people deserve to know the truth about what went on at Twitter for years behind closed doors,” Hawley stated.
Questions that he has for the new head of Twitter, according to his letter, include:
- Who was responsible for deliberately suppressing the New York Post‘s now-vindicated reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop and business dealings?
- How many Twitter users have had their accounts suspended, and why?
- How many Twitter users have been shadowbanned, and why?
- Do Twitter’s shadowbanning and suspension patterns evince a consistent political bias?
- Have Twitter employees, since news of your acquisition of the platform became public, made changes to the platform or deleted records of their time at the service?
“A public audit like this will prove essential, as you start to rebuild a culture of free speech and open discourse at Twitter, to determining where exactly things went wrong on the platform and who is principally responsible. No doubt the results will be illuminating for all of us,” Hawley said, concluding his letter.
Musk has previously knocked Twitter’s past actions. On Tuesday, he publically excoriated the company’s top attorney Vijaya Gadde, who ostensibly heads content moderation, over a report that she led the effort to ban and suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story.
“Suspending the Twitter account of a major news organization for publishing a truthful story was obviously incredibly inappropriate,” Musk tweeted, making it clear that the actions by Twitter over the story were unacceptable.
Suspending the Twitter account of a major news organization for publishing a truthful story was obviously incredibly inappropriate
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 26, 2022
A tweet from conservative activist Mike Cernovich also seemed to get Musk’s attention. It alleged that Twitter lawyer Jim Baker, who is a former general counsel for the FBI, “personally arranged a meeting between the FBI and Michael Sussmann. In this meeting, Sussmann presented fabricated evidence in the Alfa bank matter.”
That assertion goes back to the Russia hoax conducted against former President Donald Trump.
Sounds pretty bad …
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 27, 2022
Musk has characterized himself as a “free speech absolutist.” The purchase of Twitter has created angst among the ranks of the leftist company’s employees where there is fear and dread in abundance as they wait to see what Musk will do to restore freedom of speech on the social media platform.
“I think everyone at Twitter, regardless of how they feel about the news, is feeling reflective and emotional,” a Twitter employee told Politico. “We’ve gone through a lot in the past two years and I think it’s generally instigated a lot of reflection. I think this was more of an acknowledgment of the uncertainty everyone is feeling right now.”
Hawley is not the only conservative who wants answers on Twitter’s censorship.
Donald Trump Jr. saw his Twitter account gain 87,296 new followers by Tuesday and another 119,022 by early Wednesday.
“While I’m awesome and totally deserving of 87,000 new followers a day it seems that someone took the shackles off my account,” he wrote Tuesday.
“Wonder if they’re burning the evidence before new mgmt comes in?” he asked. “Seems Shadow Banning is yet another ‘right-wing conspiracy theory’ that was 100% true.”
While I’m awesome and totally deserving of 87,000 new followers a day it seems that someone took the shackles off my account. Wonder if they’re burning the evidence before new mgmt comes in? pic.twitter.com/9Mso48qyNP
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) April 26, 2022
Seems Shadow Banning is yet another “right-wing conspiracy theory” that was 100% true.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) April 26, 2022
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was the recipient of more than 205,000 followers after Musk took over Twitter, according to Social Blade analytics.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson gained more than 141,000 new followers.
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) April 25, 2022
“It really is something how conservative accounts are getting massive follower increases today…,” tweeted Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz. He reportedly had over 61,000 new followers suddenly appear after the Twitter acquisition according to the New York Post.
It really is something how conservative accounts are getting massive follower increases today….
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) April 26, 2022
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