WASHINGTON DC (CBSDFW.COM) – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is demanding that Twitter and Facebook answer questions regarding their decision to block a New York Post article from Wednesday, Oct. 14 that alleged corruption of Joe Biden and the Biden family. On Thursday, Cruz announced the “Judiciary Committee will subpoena Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in light of latest politically motivated censorship.”
Cruz said the committee will expect Dorsey to appear on Friday, Oct. 23.
Cruz spoke to pool cameras outside the committee room where confirmation hearings were continuing to nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“We have seen big tech — we’ve seen Twitter and Facebook — actively interfering in this election in a way that has no precedent in the history of our country,” said Cruz. “Yesterday the New York Post broke a story, alleging serious corruption of Joe Biden, and Hunter Biden concerning Ukraine. The allegations in the New York Post story — if true — indicate that Vice President Biden lied when he said he had never discussed his son’s business dealings.”
According to the New York Post, they were in position of what they said was “Smoking-gun email” that revealed “Hunter Biden introduced a Ukrainian businessman” to his father, Joe Biden, then Vice President of the United States and now current Democratic presidential candidate.
Andrew Bates, spokesman for the Biden campaign, released a statement on Wednesday disputing the claims.
“The New York Post never asked the Biden campaign about the critical elements of this story,” said Bates. “Moreover, we have reviewed Joe Biden’s official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place.” He added.
Shoddy reporting. Shoddy information. Shady source. https://t.co/V8C3mbrnDi
— Daniel Goldman (@danielsgoldman) October 14, 2020
Dorsey tweeted late Wednesday that there were issues with how they handled the situation. “Our communication around our actions on the @nypost article was not great. And blocking URL sharing via tweet or DM with zero context as to why we’re blocking: unacceptable,” read the tweet.
— jack (@jack) October 14, 2020
Cruz said he attempted to share an article from the post on Twitter Thursday and was blocked. Cruz went on to say that the New York Post has the fourth largest circulation of any newspaper and that when they shared their story Facebook and Twitter blocked them, as well.
“Never before have we seen active censorship of a major press publication, with serious allegations of corruption of one of the two candidates for president,” said Cruz.
U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware), who is also a Senate Judiciary Committee member, said Thursday, “Facebook and Twitter have policies to not spread things that are utterly unreliable, that have been debunked, and where their origin is untrustworthy.” He went on to say, “They’re practicing their own internal controls as I wish they had over the past four years.”
President Trump weighed in on the story Wednesday evening on Twitter. “So terrible that Facebook and Twitter took down the story of “Smoking Gun” emails related to Sleepy Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in the NYPost. It is only the beginning for them. There is nothing worse than a corrupt politician. REPEAL SECTION 230!!!”
So terrible that Facebook and Twitter took down the story of “Smoking Gun” emails related to Sleepy Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in the @NYPost. It is only the beginning for them. There is nothing worse than a corrupt politician. REPEAL SECTION 230!!! https://t.co/g1RJFpIVUZ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 14, 2020
Section 230 is a rule that — in part — protects tech companies like Facebook and Twitter from liability over the content posted by users on their platforms.
Cruz said it got worse on Thursday. “The New York Post broke a second story of a series of emails that indicate yet more corruption. In this instance, the Biden family receiving millions of dollars from Communist China government officials,” said Cruz. “Just minutes ago. I tried to share that story on Twitter, and Twitter is actively blocking — right now this instant — stories from the New York Post.”
Cruz said this was election interference and that it has no precedent in the history of democracy.
“The Senate Judiciary Committee wants to know what the hell is going on,” said Cruz.
“And let me be clear, I don’t know if these New York Post stories are true or not. Those are questions Vice President Biden should answer,” he added. “But Twitter and Facebook and big tech billionaires don’t get to censor political speech and actively interfere in the election. That’s what they’re doing right now.”
Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) also backed Cruz. “All the allegations about Russian collusion and Trump and every other idea that Trump may have done something bad, nobody blocked that,” said Graham. “The power behind these platforms have been taken to a level that truly is dangerous.”
“We believe in a free press in this country,” said Hawley. “We also believe in free elections, and the attempt to rig, an election — which is what we’re seeing here by monopolies — is unprecedented in American history.”