The Republican National Committee (RNC) filed a complaint Friday with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that Twitter’s censorship of a recent New York Post article about Hunter Biden amounts to a contribution to former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
A Wednesday report from the New York Post detailed an alleged email that shows Hunter Biden and then-Vice President Joe Biden met with an executive from the Ukrainian gas company Burisma in 2015. The Biden campaign denied the report and said Wednesday that the alleged meeting never took place. (RELATED: Biden Says He Never Discussed Hunter Biden’s Ukraine Deal. Hunter Says He Did)
Shortly after the report was published, Twitter began blocking users from sharing the link or sending it via private direct messages. Multiple accounts, including the Trump campaign and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, were locked after attempting to Tweet a link to the story or posting details about the report.
I tweeted a link to the NYP story right after it dropped yesterday morning. I immediately reached out to the Biden campaign to see if they had any answer. I wish i had given the story a closer read before tweeting it. @twitter suspended me pic.twitter.com/Lk3c2Vd7d2
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) October 15, 2020
BREAKING: Twitter has locked the personal account of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany for sharing news Democrats don’t like. pic.twitter.com/eR8HhkgqVY
— Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) October 14, 2020
The RNC alleges that Twitter’s censorship of the Post report amounts to the company illegally using corporate resources to support the Biden campaign.
“Twitter’s decision to censor news articles that harm Joe Biden’s candidacy is so transparently biased it would make even the governments of China or North Korea blush,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a press release. “Fortunately, in this country, we have tools at our disposal to fight back against this type of censorship.”
“The RNC is calling on the Federal Elections Commission to investigate whether Twitter’s actions amount to an illegal corporate in-kind contribution to the Biden presidential campaign,” McDaniel said. “Twitter’s flagrant bias and direct support for one presidential candidacy over the other should result in the proper financial ramifications under our campaign finance laws.”
The complaint alleges that Twitter “is engaged in arguably the most brazen and unprecedented act of media suppression in this country’s history, and it is doing so for the clear purpose of supporting the Biden campaign.” Corporations are prohibited from making in-kind contributions to federal candidates under federal campaign finance law.
Twitter claimed that they censored the Post’s article because it was in violation of their Hacked Materials Policy.
“In line with our Hacked Materials Policy, as well as our approach to blocking URLs, we are taking action to block any links to or images of the material in question on Twitter,” a Twitter spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. There is currently not any evidence showing that the Post’s report relied on hacked materials, and the New York Post claims that the email was recovered from a laptop that was abandoned at a Delaware computer repair shop in 2019.
“The images contained in the articles include personal and private information — like email addresses and phone numbers — which violate our rules,” Twitter said in a Wednesday post. “As noted this morning, we also currently view materials included in the articles as violations of our Hacked Materials Policy.”
“We know we have more work to do to provide clarity in our product when we enforce our rules in this manner,” the company added. “We should provide additional clarity and context when preventing the Tweeting or DMing of URLs that violate our policies.”