Twitter 'made a mistake' in censoring news about Hunter Biden's laptop

Former executives of the social network admit to Congress that they dismissed the scandalous information found on the computer of the president's son.

Yoel Roth, Twitter's former director of Trust and Safety, acknowledged to congressmen on the House Oversight Committee that the social network "made a mistake" in censoring stories about Hunter Biden's laptop.

Roth stated that he personally advocated against censoring the story on the platform. However, he eventually did so because Hunter's case,  he claims, had similarities to the 2016 Russian hacking targeting the Democratic National Committee, (DNC) when Russian government hackers accessed the Democratic National Convention database:

Twitter made a mistake (...) I'll be the first to admit that we didn't always get it right. Individual content moderation decisions will always be controversial, and reasonable minds can differ on whether a specific choice was right or wrong.

Roth admitted that he used disappearing messaging systems to communicate with government officials. He is being accused of being "intimately involved in the effort to censor Hunter Biden's laptop story."

Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's former chief legal officer, also testified in Congress that the company had received visits from federal agencies to remove certain content from the platform, and while she did not specify whether Hunter's story was one of them, she admitted that some of the information was censored because the photos on Hunter's computer "looked like they could have been obtained through hacking."

In 2018 we had developed a policy aimed at preventing Twitter from becoming a dumping ground for pirated materials (...) It became clear that Twitter had not fully appreciated the impact of that policy on the free press and others.

Republicans push harder to prove collusion between FBI and Twitter

The former Twitter executives are giving their statements in front of the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives, which decided to hold a congressional hearing to bring to a close the more than two-year-long investigation into the social network's censorship of the New York Post article. Hunter Biden's laptop contained scandalous and compromising content that could lead him to face legal action.

The Chairman of the Oversight and Accountability Committee, James Comer, alleged that Big Tech giants like Twitter are "under the control of people who are hostile to fundamental American principles of free speech and have colluded with federal agencies to censor stories embarrassing to President Joe Biden and his family."

The Republican majority indicated that it planned to push even harder to prove that FBI and Twitter had colluded to censor the story reported by The Post:

Twitter, under the leadership of our witnesses today, was a private company that the federal government used to accomplish what it constitutionally cannot: limit the free exercise of speech.

Comer stated that in the months leading up to Hunter's computer story, the FBI had already questioned senior Twitter executives about the validity of any story about the president's son:

We also know that one of the witnesses before us today participated in an exercise ... about a possible 'hack and dump' operation related to Hunter Biden. Other Big Tech companies and reporters also attended (...) This exercise prepared them for their future collusion to suppress and delegitimize the information contained on Hunter Biden's computer about the Biden family's business schemes.