“Twitter Files” journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger described to House lawmakers Thursday how online censorship by social media platforms under pressure from the federal government can influence elections.
Both journalists testified Thursday before the House Select Subcommittee on Weaponization and described the partisan nature of online censorship campaigns pushed by government agencies and third party groups. (RELATED: Dan Goldman Suggests Hunter Biden Laptop Was ‘Manipulated’ By Russia, Rudy Giuliani)
“Do you believe that this censorship is a form of election interference?” Republican New York Rep. Elise Stefanik asked.
“Absolutely it is,” Shellenberger replied. “There’s no question in my mind.”
Taibbi proceeded to describe his reporting with Shellenberger on a third party censorship network called the Cyber Threat Intelligence League (CTIL) formed after the 2016 presidential election.
“The latest story that we did on the CTI League, the overt partisanship of the people involved in this operation, that was actually the reason the whistleblower came forward,” Taibbi said.
“They assumed anyone who was smart thought the way they did. They talked about the potential election of Donald Trump being an end-of-the-world event. They talked about the wack-a-doodles who actually watch Fox News,” Taibbi continued.
“Even as someone who doesn’t vote for Republicans, it was shocking to me to see this. I think this was a consistent theme not just of the CTI League but most of the censorship organizations we looked at. They all tend to drift in one direction.”
The “Twitter Files” internal documents showed the steps Twitter took to suppress the New York Post’s reporting on the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop archive ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
Taibbi, Shellenberger and other journalists released additional documents in December 2022 showing the network of nonprofits and government agencies that worked together to pressure social media companies into restricting content. (RELATED: Jim Jordan Subpoenas Key Ex-Biden Admin Officials Behind Censorship Efforts)
Unelected bureaucrats and Big Tech companies NEVER should collude to dictate what Americans can say or read online.
— Weaponization Committee (@Weaponization) November 30, 2023
The House Judiciary Committee is now investigating the reported censorship efforts by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the FBI, the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) and other parts of the federal government.
Former President Donald Trump and other Republican lawmakers were targeted by CISA and its third party affiliates during the 2020 election cycle, according to a report by the House Judiciary Committee.
The “Twitter Files” came out following the purchase of Twitter by billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Musk pledged to restore free speech to the platform and fired the company’s top executives upon his purchase.
Musk subsequently renamed the platform X and replaced its iconic bird logo.