Oversight Republicans Call for Emergency Hearing on Big Tech’s Election Interference

Published: Oct 15, 2020

WASHINGTON—House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) and Committee Republicans today called on Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) to hold an emergency hearing before November 3 on Big Tech’s censorship and election interference.

After the New York Post published an explosive story revealing that Joe Biden may have lied about using his position as Vice President to help his son’s foreign business dealings, Facebook announced that it is effectively censoring the article on its platform until it is fact-checked by a third party. Twitter also sought to prevent users from accessing the article from its platform, claiming that the Post article is “potentially spammy or unsafe.”

“Facebook and Twitter’s censorship of American journalism is part of a broader pattern by Big Tech to selectively suppress news and silence conservative views that don’t square with their liberal agenda. This is not the American way and cannot be tolerated,” said Ranking Member James Comer. “Big Tech’s censorship is election interference and we call on Chairwoman Maloney to hold an emergency hearing immediately in order to hold them accountable and protect the integrity of the election.”

The letter was led by Ranking Member Comer and signed by all Oversight Committee Republicans: Representatives Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.), Gary Palmer (R-Ala.), Michael Cloud (R-Texas), Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), Clay Higgins (R-La.), Ralph Norman, (R-S.C.), Chip Roy (R-Texas), Carol Miller (R-W.Va.), Mark Green (R-Tenn.), Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.), Greg Steube (R-Fla.), and Fred Keller (R-Pa.).

Below is the full text of the letter.

Dear Chairwoman Maloney:

We respectfully request an emergency hearing on Big Tech’s repeated efforts to interfere in the 2020 election. Big Tech’s silencing of conservative viewpoints and censorship of news undermines the integrity of the 2020 election and harms Americans’ First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

Most recently, Facebook and Twitter censored a negative news article about Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.  According to the New York Post, emails show that in 2015, Hunter Biden introduced then-Vice President Joe Biden to a Ukrainian energy executive from Burisma.  During this time, Hunter Biden served on Burisma’s board of directors. Joe Biden has repeatedly denied ever speaking to Hunter Biden about his international business dealings.  In addition to a now infamous video showing Joe Biden bragging about interfering in Ukraine affairs, the New York Post article raises more questions about whether Joe Biden lied about using his position as Vice President to help his son’s Ukrainian business dealings.

Shortly after the story was posted on Facebook, the company decided to “reduce its distribution” in an apparent attempt to limit access to the story.  Just as concerning, Facebook reportedly refused to answer basic questions about its decision. Twitter also censored the article and warned users that it is “potentially spammy or unsafe.” Facebook and Twitter have done little to limit distribution of negative stories about President Trump or others who may share his political views.  This effort to selectively limit speech based on political affiliation is very concerning.

Since the election is in only 19 days and other Big Tech platforms continuously limit speech based on political ideology, we must immediately hold a hearing to learn who are responsible for making these decisions and what policies enable Big Tech to selectively limit speech on social media.  In order to prevent further interference in the 2020 election by Big Tech, we request the Committee hold an emergency hearing on this important matter before November 3.

Sincerely,

James Comer, Ranking Member, Committee on Oversight and Reform

Jody Hice , Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Government Operations

Glenn S. Grothman, Ranking Member, Subcommittee on National Security

Michael Cloud, Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy

Chip Roy, Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Mark E. Green, M.D., Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Environment

Jim Jordan

Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S.

Virginia A. Foxx

Thomas H. Massie

Gary Palmer

Bob Gibbs

Clay Higgins

Ralph W. Norman

Carol D. Miller

Kelly M. Armstrong

Gregory Steube

Fred B. Keller

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