Hawley to Musk: Audit Twitter’s Past Censorship Practices

Hawley to Musk: Audit Twitter's Past Censorship Practices sen josh hawley participates in a senate judiciary committee confirmation hearing Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

By Peter Malbin | Wednesday, 27 April 2022 12:15 PM

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., sent a letter to new Twitter owner Elon Musk, calling for a comprehensive public audit of Twitter's past censorship practices.

"In recent years, Twitter has intervened in American discourse with an increasingly heavy hand, attempting to shape the information environment for overtly partisan reasons," Hawley wrote. "Algorithms didn’t make those calls; employees did. And at this point, the American people deserve to know the truth about what went on at Twitter for years behind closed doors."

Hawley wrote that he wants answers to these questions:

•Who was responsible for deliberately suppressing the New York Post’s now-vindicated reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop and business dealings?

•How many Twitter users have had their accounts suspended, and why?
•How many Twitter users have been shadowbanned, and why?
•Do Twitter’s shadowbanning and suspension patterns evince a consistent political bias?
•Have Twitter employees, since news of your acquisition of the platform became public, made changes to the platform or deleted records of their time at the service?

"A public audit like this will prove essential, as you start to rebuild a culture of free speech and open discourse at Twitter, to determining where exactly things went wrong on the platform and who is principally responsible," Hawley wrote to Musk.

Conservatives are generally more in favor of Musk's Twitter takeover than liberals, as they perceive there is a left-wing bias in social media. Sen. Elizabeth Warrren, D-Mass., called the Twitter deal "dangerous for our democracy."

A self-described "free speech absolutist," Musk has long been vocal in his criticism of Twitter's content policies, raising questions after the company banned former President Donald Trump. Trump said he won't return to Twitter if Musk unbans him.

Musk on Tuesday criticized Twitter's top lawyer for banning stories on Hunter Biden's laptop, Newsmax reported.

Musk has called for more transparency in how Twitter presents tweets to users, a system that currently allows some to be promoted and given wider audiences, the BBC reported.

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