Twitter and Facebook’s Selective Censorship Is an Attack on Free Speech

A few weeks ago, the New York Times published a story on President Trump’s tax returns, which was shared far and wide across the internet. In fact, Twitter and Facebook helped promote the story on their platforms, despite pushback from the White House and Trump businesses.

With that in mind, consider a different story that broke a few days ago: The New York Post, America’s oldest newspaper, published a bombshell report that revealed newly uncovered emails between Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son, and a Ukrainian business associate. In one email, the Ukrainian businessman thanks Hunter for introducing him to his father, then vice president of the United States and point person for U.S. policy in Ukraine.

The Biden campaign immediately went into overdrive to try and spin the story, especially because Joe Biden himself has repeatedly, and indefensibly, denied that he had any knowledge of his son’s business dealings in Ukraine or contact with his associates. Worse, the New York Post’s story on Biden was immediately suppressed by both Facebook and Twitter. The former claimed it was letting its “fact-checkers” investigate the veracity of the article, while the latter cited a 2018 policy against “linking to hacked materials.” Both tech giants even limited the social media accounts of editors at the New York Post who attempted to share the article.

There is no mystery as to where the Biden emails originated from, either.

A computer repair shop in Delaware received a laptop that needed repairs in 2019. After some time had passed and the laptop was not picked up or paid for by its owner, as per their policy, the repair shop then took ownership of the laptop. The technician who was making the repairs on the laptop discovered shocking emails and videos of the vice president’s son in the nude and made a copy on a hard drive before ultimately turning it over to the FBI. The contents that were provided to the New York Post were hardly acquired by “hacking.”

In contrast, no one knows where the tax release information published by the New York Times came from. Moreover, it is a crime to disclose a person’s tax returns without their consent or permission from a court. The Times story — supposing for a minute, hypothetically, that the documents are legitimate — would therefore be based upon a criminal act. And yet, somehow, this fails to meet Twitter’s “hacking” standard.

The New York Post is not a fringe publication. It is one of the largest newspapers in the country by circulation and has been published in our most populous city for more than 200 years. Just as the New York Times editors chose to run the Trump tax story, the New York Post editors made the independent, editorial decision to run the Hunter Biden email story. Now, as someone whose own Twitter account has been suspended, despite being the state chair of a major political party in a battleground state, I am deeply offended by the selective censorship from our big tech overlords. It sends a chill down my spine to think that these tech giants are so blatantly putting their thumbs on the election scales in favor of Democrats. They have invoked the First Amendment to justify their business model for so many years that it now appears Big Tech believes that they are the official arbiters of the First Amendment.

As the Democrats have often declared during the Judge Amy Coney Barrett confirmation process, millions of people are already voting. There are less than three weeks left in this election, and for Facebook, Twitter, and other social media companies to be clamping down on a bombshell story, from a major newspaper, until their supposed fact-checkers approve it — which, by the way, are usually nothing more than left-wing media outlets with an axe to grind against the Trump administration — displays an arrogance that must be addressed immediately by our elected leaders in Washington.

And if that means taking serious action to break up these Big Tech monopolies or repealing Section 230 protections for these companies to protect our God-given First Amendment rights as American citizens, so be it.

Dr. Kelli Ward is a family physician, two-term Arizona state senator, and the chairwoman of the Republican Party of Arizona. Follow her on Twitter: @KelliWardAZ.
(Self) Censored by Carolyn Langton is licensed under Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

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