House Republicans requested information about the content moderation plans of Twitter’s new chief executive officer in a letter Thursday.
“Your transition is an opportunity to right the ship. However, your past comments raise serious questions regarding your interest in re-opening the platform you lead to free expression,” New York Rep. Claudia Tenney and twelve other members wrote to CEO Parag Agrawal.
Here are the four questions the Republicans asked:
1. Will you commit to applying your content policies fairly, no matter the political leaning of the speaker on your platform? If no, why not?
2. What is your plan to avoid the past mistakes made by Twitter in censoring conservative voices and causes?
3. How do you plan to use Twitter’s role as an important cultural institution to uphold the spirit and principle of the First Amendment?
4. In light of how Twitter influenced the 2020 presidential election, what changes to your policies do you intend to make to ensure Twitter remains neutral in future elections?
Read the letter here:
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey announced Nov. 29 that he was retiring from his position as CEO, and that Agrawal would replace him, effective immediately.
Shortly after the announcement, Agrawal’s previous tweets and comments surfaced. Conservatives raised particular concerns over an interview Agrawal gave in which he claimed that Twitter should “focus less on thinking about free speech, but thinking about how the times have changed.” (RELATED: Twitter Expands Its Bans Day After It Names New CEO)
Tenney also noted the banning of former President Donald Trump from the social media platform in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, as well as the suspension of The New York Post for publishing stories related to the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop. Dorsey later described the decision to lock The New York Post out of its account as “a mistake.”
“Twitter’s track record of censoring conservatives on its platform while allowing the Supreme Leader of Iran and anti-Semitic content to remain demonstrates a clear disconnect between its own policies and practices. As a member of the Republican Big Tech, Censorship, and Data Task Force, I am seeking accountability from Twitter’s new CEO and hope he will take this opportunity to be transparent in explaining how he will ensure that free speech is protected in the digital public square. I won’t allow our First Amendment rights to be trampled by nameless big tech censors who hide behind special legal immunities,” Tenney said in a statement to the Daily Caller.
“We need transparency from Big Tech. We need open dialogue to ensure people have access to reliable information. We need these companies to cherish free speech – not attack it. Censoring Americans is not the American way,” Task Force leader and Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers added.
The Republican Big Tech, Censorship, and Data Task Force consists of sixteen representatives. When creating the group, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urged lawmakers to strengthen antitrust laws, require social media platforms to create appeals processes for suspensions, and reform or repeal Section 230.