House Democrat staffers wanted Twitter to censor more, arguing the “First Amendment isn’t absolute,” according to internal Twitter emails released by Twitter CEO Elon Musk via Matt Taibbi on Friday evening.
The emails related to Twitter’s suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story, which broke in the weeks before the 2020 presidential election.
According to the emails, Carl Szabo of research firm Net Choice,had emailed Twitter’s head of Public Polic, Lauren Culbertson, a report after polling 12 congressional staffers — nine Republicans and three Democrats.
Szabo reporoted to Culbertson that the Democrat staffers complained that Twitter “let conservatives muddy the water and make the Biden campaign look corrupt.”
They also compared the Hunter Biden laptop story to the Hillary Clinton email scandal, wherein the then-secretary of state set up an unsecured private server in her home basement that contained work and classified emails. Despite being required to hand over the material, tens of thousands of emails were deleted.
They linked this to Hillary Clinton’s email scandal: she did nothing wrong but because the press wouldn’t let the story go, it became a scandal far out of proportion. In their mind, social media is doing the same thing: it doesn’t moderate enough harmful content so when it does, like it did yesterday, it becomes a story. If the companies moderated more, conservatives wouldn’t even think to use social media for disinformation, misinformation, or otherwise.
The Democrats were in agreement: social media needs to moderate more because they’re corrupting democracy and making all “truth” relative. When pushed on how the government might insist on that, consistent with the First Amendment, they demurred: “the First Amendment isn’t absolute.”
Since purchasing Twitter, Musk has pledged to increase transparency and public trust in Twitter.
On November 23, 2022, he tweeted: “The more I learn, the worse it gets. The world should know the truth of what has been happening at Twitter. Transparency will earn the trust of the people.”
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