Sen. Mike Lee on Thursday reacted to Facebook and Twitter taking steps to stop the widespread dissemination of an explosive New York Post report this week that purports to show emails from Hunter Biden linking his father to his Ukrainian business dealings.
“It’s certainly a stunning display of hypocrisy and favoritism”
“Now look, you’ve got Twitter and Facebook providing alternating explanations for what happened. First, they said that this is misinformation so we didn’t want to run with it,” Lee said.
“Of course, [Big Tech has] been running with misinformation for years, but, let’s set that aside for a minute. And then, at least in the case of Twitter they switched later in the day yesterday saying that ‘Well, this wasn’t [legally] obtained.’ Well, that’s not an explanation. That’s certainly not a distinction. They’ve printed all sorts of things on Trump that was itself illegally obtained, so, what we see going on here is a blatant display of favoritism and hypocrisy among these tech companies and it is deeply disturbing,” Lee said.
Republican Sens. Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham and Josh Hawley on Thursday called on the heads of Twitter and Facebook to testify, and said a subpoena was in the works, as critics claimed the social media platforms have been censoring reporting critical of Democrats.
The Senate Judiciary Committee leaders announced they will vote on a subpoena Tuesday for Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, to testify before the committee on Friday, Oct. 23. Hawley said he hoped the committee would vote to subpoena Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, too.
The GOP lawmakers say while they don’t know if the New York Post reporting is true, they believe in a free press.
The New York Post released emails that allegedly reveal that Hunter introduced his father, the Democratic presidential nominee, to a top executive at Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings at Hunter’s request. The article said that the elder Biden met with Vadym Pozharskyi in April 2015 in Washington, D.C.
Twitter responded by locking the New York Post’s Twitter account as of 2:20 pm, saying the paper’s messages obtained from Hunter Biden’s laptop broke the social network’s rules against the “distribution of hacked material,” Twitter wrote to the Post. Twitter also blocked users from sharing the link to the New York Post article.
Facebook said it was “reducing” the article distribution on its platform.
“While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook’s third-party fact checking partners,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone tweeted Wednesday. “In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.”
The Biden campaign said the former vice president engaged in “no wrongdoing” and the alleged meeting never took place.
Lee went on to say, “The fact that the New York Post put up this article yesterday and then it was immediately taken down and people who were posting it had their accounts blocked is a rather brazen display and almost inexplicable act of loyalty toward one presidential campaign and against another. I would really like some answers on this.”