Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) dared billionaire Elon Musk on Wednesday to “open the books” when he takes control of Twitter and expose the censorship inside.
In a public letter to the Tesla founder, Hawley said Musk 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 emphasized.
After congratulating Musk for his acquisition, Hawley praised Musk for his commitment to free speech and pressed him to audit Twitter for its practices. His top questions:
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?
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
Elon Musk appeared to hint at his misgivings about Twitter’s past practices on Tuesday when he openly criticized Twitter’s top lawyer Vijaya Gadde, who heads content moderation, over a report that she spearheaded the effort to have the Hunter Biden laptop story banned.
“Suspending the Twitter account of a major news organization for publishing a truthful story was obviously incredibly inappropriate,” tweeted Musk.
Suspending the Twitter account of a major news organization for publishing a truthful story was obviously incredibly inappropriate
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 26, 2022
Musk also responded to a tweet from conservative activist Mike Cernovich alleging Twitter lawyer Jim Baker, 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.”
Sounds pretty bad …
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 27, 2022
Musk has yet to respond to the challenge but on his acquisition of the platform, the billionaire cast himself as an advocate of unfettered free speech. One employee told Politico Musk’s purchase of Twitter has created a high degree of uncertainty in the company.
“I think everyone at Twitter, regardless of how they feel about the news, is feeling reflective and emotional,” said one Twitter employee. “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.”
On Monday, several human rights groups voiced “concerns” about the proliferation of “hate speech” on Twitter following Musk’s acquisition of the company.