Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, the top-ranking GOP member of the House Judiciary Committee, sent letters to the CEOs of Twitter and Parler, asking questions about alleged discrimination against conservatives on social media platforms.
The Wednesday letters, copies of which were obtained by the Daily Caller, told Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Parler CEO John Matze that Congress is “examining the size, competitiveness, and role of social media companies.” (RELATED: Twitter Dings Trump’s Tweets But Refuses To Fact Check Chinese Officials’ Virus Misinformation)
Social media giant Twitter has received backlash from conservatives after the platform banned several accounts and restricted posts from prominent users, including President Donald Trump and the White House.
“Twitter, Inc., a market leader in online social networking, has increasingly exerted editorial control over the accounts of prominent conservative users, including President Donald Trump,” the letter to Dorsey began. “Twitter has not taken similar actions for similar accounts of prominent liberal users, suggesting that Twitter is not moderating user content in a viewpoint-neutral manner.”
Twitter fact-checked a May 26 tweet from President Trump in which the president claimed there was “no way” California’s mail-in ballots would be “anything less than substantially fraudulent.” They restricted another one of Trump’s tweets about Washington D.C.’s autonomous protest zone June 23, saying that the post violated their policy against “abusive behavior.”
There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed. The Governor of California is sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2020
“Twitter’s discrimination against conservative voices is extremely alarming,” Jordan wrote. “These actions give rise to concerns that the company is systematically engaged in the disparate treatment of political speech and is deceiving users of the platform by not uniformly applying its terms of service.”
Jordan requested that Dorsey provide several documents to the Judiciary Committee, including “all content moderation decisions” Twitter made regarding rule violations by users in the United States in the past year. He also asked for all documents related to the company’s decision to fact-check or restrict the president’s May 26 and June 23 tweets.
The second letter asked Matze to speak to the Judiciary Committee about “Parler’s views on the value it offers to consumers, its competitive practices, and how it views the state of competition in social media.”
Half a million users signed up for Parler in three days last month after Twitter permanently banned the president’s favorite meme-maker, Carpe Donktum. The site has positioned itself as the free-speech alternative to Twitter, which has made it popular for conservatives who have become increasingly frustrated with censorship by social media platforms.
Parler’s “commitment to not ‘censor or editorialize, share or sell user data'” puts the platform “in stark contrast to Twitter,” the letter said, “which has made increasingly clear in recent weeks and months that only users who refrain from expressing certain unfavored political beliefs are welcome to fully participate on its platform.”
President Donald Trump signed an executive order last month to change the Department of Justice’s interpretation of Section 230, which gives legal protection to social media companies if they engage in censorship. He slammed Twitter for engaging in “political activism” and criticized the company’s “unchecked power.”