The New York Post released a bombshell report this week revealing that it had obtained emails that raise questions about Democrat White House hopeful Joe Biden’s actions as vice president and his son Hunter’s allegedly nefarious international business dealings. But once the story started making the rounds on social media, Silicon Valley started cracking down.
Among those to face the wrath of the social media giants was White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, whose Twitter account was locked Wednesday after she shared a link to the New York Post‘s controversial cover story, according to a separate report from the Post.
“Your account has been locked,” the tech giant informed McEnany Wednesday, according to the Post. “We have determined that this account violated the Twitter Rules.”
“I will not comply”
According to NPR, Twitter and Facebook both took action to suppress the Post‘s story, saying in separate statements that “the moves were aimed at slowing the spread of potentially false information.”
But while Facebook said it was merely “limiting distribution” of the report, Twitter took things a step further, “blocking users from posting pictures of the emails or links to two of the New York Post‘s stories referring to them,” according to NPR. Now, it seems the platform, led by CEO Jack Dorsey, is also targeting the users behind the tweets.
In its message to McEnany, Twitter cited its policy against the “distribution of hacked material,” saying: “We don’t permit the use of our services to directly distribute content obtained through hacking that contains private information, may put people in physical harm or danger, or contains trade secrets. […] As a result, we have locked your account.”
But McEnany isn’t backing down without a fight. She told the Post that while Twitter has asked her to “delete her tweet to restore access to her account,” she’s not interested.
“This is a story reported by the New York Post and Fox News with the Biden campaign notably not disputing the authenticity of the emails,” McEnany told the paper. “I will not comply with censoring reporting that may not fit the ideology of Silicon Valley. This is abominable and not the American way.”
In the meantime, the antics by Twitter and other social media firms have not gone unnoticed on Capitol Hill, with Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley (R) even going so far as to ask the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to investigate, as the Post noted.
“The Post’s reporting has understandably attracted substantial public discussion. And countless Americans have sought to discuss and debate that article via the forums in which so much of our political speech occurs: on social media,” Hawley wrote in a Wednesday letter to FEC acting general counsel Lisa Stevenson. “But two social-media platforms have engaged in unprecedented suppression of public discussion of the article.”
According to Hawley, “[t]his conduct does not merely censor the core political speech of ordinary Americans, though it certainly does that. Twitter’s and Facebook’s conduct also appears to constitute a clear violation of federal campaign-finance law,” he wrote — and they’re doing it “only weeks before Election Day, and while millions of Americans are in the midst of voting.”
“I ask that the FEC take immediate action to investigate these potential violations and, if appropriate, take remedial action to prevent further interference with the 2020 presidential election,” the senator concluded. And considering the circumstances, it’s really not too tall of an order to fill.