Republican Jim Jordan claims there was a “comfortable relationship” between the government and big tech and claims the FBI planned to censor Hunter’s laptop in a hearing with Twitter Files journalists.
- “I never thought in my life that in my country freedom of expression would be under attack like the one that has been done here,” said journalist Michael Shellenberger.
- “The Internet is an instrument of censorship and control, and our government seems to be playing a central role,” Matt Taibbi said in opening remarks.
- It’s digital McCarthyism’ Taibbi told committee on government censorship
The House panel investigating the ‘weaponization’ of the federal government reported in the ‘Twitter Files’ got off to a fierce start Thursday when the Republican-led hearing began with a series of sniping attacks between Rep. Jim Jordan and Rep. senior member. , Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands).
Elon Musk gave witnesses, including Substack journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger, access to review ‘voluminous’ amounts of internal Twitter communications about potential working relationships between social media companies and government agencies.
In his opening statement, Taibbi told the panel that he attracted a lot of public interest when the first reports of ‘Twitter Files’ surfaced.
“My computer looked like a slot machine as the first ever tweet about the Hunter Biden laptop blocking history alone registered 143 million impressions and 30 million engagements.”
Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, left, speaks during a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill, February 9, 2023, in Washington.
Twitter is accused of having a cozy relationship with government agencies.
Taibbi caught the attention of millions of viewers with the first installment focusing on internal Twitter discussions that led them to censor the Hunter Biden laptop during the 2020 presidential election, as some officials tried to explain that it violated their “hacked materials” policies. “.
“We learned that Twitter, Facebook, Google, and other companies have developed a formal system for accepting ‘requests’ for moderation from all corners of government: the FBI, DHS, HHS, DOD, the Global Engagement Center in the state, even the CIA. “.
Taibbi wrote: “Without question, making such lists is a form of digital McCarthyism.”
‘We just saw this with the Covid lab leak theory. Many of the institutions we are now investigating initially labeled the idea that Covid came from a laboratory as “disinformation” and a conspiracy theory. Now apparently even the FBI takes it seriously. ‘
“The First Amendment, and an American population accustomed to the right to speak, is the best defense left against the Censorship Industrial Complex,” he wrote.
“If there is one thing the Twitter archives show, it is that we are in danger of losing this most precious right, without which all other democratic rights are impossible.”
Michael Shellenberger’s testimony warned that “the censorship industrial complex” will have a dangerous impact on the First Amendment.
I offer some precautions. I don’t know how much of the censorship is coordinated beyond what we’ve been able to document, and I won’t speculate. And I support the right of governments to communicate with the public, including to challenge inaccurate and misleading information. But government officials have been caught repeatedly pressuring social media platforms to censor disfavored users and content.
“The government no longer needs the predicate of calling you a terrorist or an extremist to deploy government resources to counter your political activity. The only predicate you need is simply the assertion that the opinion you expressed on social media is incorrect.
This story will be updated.
Freelance journalist Matt Taibbi testifies before the House committee on the ‘Twitter Files’
President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden leave Holy Spirit Catholic Church on Johns Island, South Carolina. House Republicans first requested documents from Hunter and James Biden on foreign business.
Hunter Biden’s laptop left in a computer repair shop: Contents disputed, but almost everyone agrees it’s been damning