Twitter Files journalist Matt Taibbi testified to the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday about the online censorship network behind Twitter’s censorship practices.
The House Judiciary Committee invited Taibbi to testify in front of the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government as part of a hearing about the Twitter Files, a series of reports on the inner workings of the social media platform based on documents released by Twitter CEO Elon Musk and reviewed by Taibbi and other journalists. (RELATED: The Twitter Files Raised A Lot Of Questions About Twitter And The FBI. The Bureau Hasn’t Answered Any Of Them)
1. TWITTER FILES:
Statement to Congress
THE CENSORSHIP-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX pic.twitter.com/JLryjnINXS
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) March 9, 2023
“The original promise of the Internet was that it might democratize the exchange of information globally. A free internet would overwhelm all attempts to control information flow, its very existence a threat to anti-democratic forms of government everywhere,” Taibbi said. “What we found in the Files was a sweeping effort to reverse that promise, and use machine learning and other tools to turn the internet into an instrument of censorship and social control. Unfortunately, our own government appears to be playing a lead role.”
Taibbi is a left-leaning journalist with 30 years of experience reporting primarily for Rolling Stone. Michael Shellenberger, another journalist who reported on the Twitter Files, also testified in front of the Subcommittee on Weaponization.
The Twitter Files documented the pressure that intelligence organizations, government funded non-profits, academic research labs, journalists and politicians exerted on the company to restrict certain types of speech on the platform. (RELATED: Adam Schiff’s Office Asked Twitter To Ban Investigative Journalist, Docs Show)
“Effectively, news media became an arm of a state-sponsored thought-policing system,” Taibbi testified. “It’s not possible to instantly arrive at truth. It is however becoming technologically possible to instantly define and enforce a political consensus online, which I believe is what we’re looking at.”
He emphasized the importance of the First Amendment and the vision of America’s founders. “The First Amendment, and an American population accustomed to the right to speak, is the best defense left against the Censorship-Industrial Complex. If the latter can knock over our first and most important constitutional guarantee, these groups will have no serious opponent left anywhere.”