WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – Former Twitter executives denied intentional wrongdoing Tuesday in their decisions relating to the story about presidential son Hunter Biden’s laptop amid several hours of largely circular questioning by the U.S. House Oversight Committee.
The hearing brought in former Twitter chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde, former deputy general counsel James Baker, former global head of trust & safety Yoel Roth, and former safety policy team senior member Annika Collier Navaroli to testify about the platform’s decision in October 2020 to censor a bombshell New York Post report about a computer Hunter had abandoned at a Delaware repair shop, containing scores of emails and texts detailing how the Biden family enriched itself through Hunter arranging meetings between his father, formerly the vice president of the United States, and business interests around the world.
The story has long since been vindicated (most recently by the younger Biden’s own attorney admitting the laptop was authentic), but at the time there was a concerted effort to discredit it as “Russian disinformation,” including Twitter censoring the Post’s original story under the claim it violated the platform’s “hacked materials” policy.
Gadde framed Twitter’s actions as an innocent mistake, testifying that the original censorship decision had been a good-faith effort to enforce the “hacked materials” policy, but “over the course of that day, it became clear that Twitter had not fully appreciated the potential impact of the policy on the free press and others,” and therefore “changed its policy within 24 hours and admitted its initial action was wrong.” But the platform did not unblock the Post’s account for another two weeks (because the paper refused to remove its original tweets), which Gadde admitted was erroneous.
UPDATE AUGUST 29, 2022 — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admits to Joe Rogan that the FBI was interested in supressing the Hunter Biden Laptop story!
If you are not aware of the foreign security threats implicated in the "Hunter Biden Laptop Story" — and what they might mean for America's national security and foreign geopolitical affairs — that’s by design.
You were never meant to discover the contents compromising President Joe Biden, and for good reason. The mainstream media kept you ignorant on purpose.
Washington Post roasted for acknowledging Hunter Biden scandal once called 'fake': 'Retroactive Pulitzer?'https://t.co/5mCc5w51xs— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 30, 2022
The Hunter Biden laptop was real, of course. The NYT buries its confirmation of the story in paragraph 27. https://t.co/be9cPkXsKF— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) March 17, 2022
In fact, the New York Post was censored by Twitter, Facebook, and all of Big Tech for even breaking the story that Hunter Biden’s laptop existed.
CNN, MSNBC dismissed Hunter Biden’s laptop as ‘Russian disinformation’ until liberal narrative was deflatedhttps://t.co/NwYPMEZ73u— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 6, 2022
The New York Times, Washington Post, and the entire mainstream media called any reference to the story “Russian disinformation."
THAT’S WHY AMERICA MUST INSIST THAT THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA REPORT THE TRUTH ABOUT THE BIDEN FAMILY AND THE CONTENTS OF HUNTER’S LAPTOP!
SIGN: Tell the Mainstream Media that viewers demand transparency on the Bidens NOW!
Enough is enough — America refuses to be kept wondering about our compromised national security, corrupt sweetheart business deals, and pay-to-play schemes detailed in the Hunter Biden Laptop.
LIFESITENEWS EXPOSED THE HUNTER BIDEN LAPTOP STORY HERE
“Polling taken in April shows that nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that the president has been compromised by his family’s shady business dealings with China,” LifeSiteNews reported on July 1, 2022.
Even CNN has finally begun to admit that the Hunter Biden Laptop is a serious problem:
- Illegal gun purchase
- Sweetheart foreign Ukraine deals
- Political access to (then) Vice-President Joe Biden
- Federal probes and investigations
Voters MUST know for whom they are voting. Sound the alarm with our new petition! SIGN TODAY!
The First Amendments protects a Free Press to report the truth and protect the American people — but the mainstream media has betrayed its viewers, spinning pro-communist and pro-globalist narratives that are HURTING voters!
Voters MUST learn about President Joe Biden’s compromised business dealings with China, Russia, Ukraine, and so many others — all pointing to the Hunter Biden Laptop.
DEMAND THE TRUTH: WE WILL NO LONGER BE MISLED BY THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA!
Media executives must learn that their viewership will continue tanking as long as executives run cover for their far-left base.
Tell media executives that you will NO LONGER watch or trust their network until they fully reveal the contents of the Hunter Biden Laptop!
It is not enough to simply change the channel. We must leave a parting shot to mainstream media executives telling them WHY consumers are refusing to watch any longer.
SIGN NOW: DO NOT LET THE MEDIA SPIN THEIR OWN FAILURE BY DENYING US TRANSPARENCY!
This is the only way to save the future of the media and win back a trustworthy Free Press for future generations.
There is no telling what the mainstream media will continue to hide, deny, and deflect if they decide to run cover for the most powerful man in the world — the President of the United States.
*** There is no time to lose—we refuse to let important information remain hidden from the American voters any longer! ***
The Hunter Biden Laptop story is the single greatest piece of evidence indicating that America’s national security is likely compromised.
We the People deserve to know the truth!
STAND WITH THE PEOPLE: SIGN OUR PETITION ASAP!
NY Post: photo from the Hunter Biden Laptop
Flickr: Officia do Palácio do Planalto. CC BY 2.0.
Baker testified that he “was not aware of and certainly did not engage in any conspiracy or other effort to do anything unethical, improper, or unlawful” while at Twitter, that the Twitter Files released by new owner Elon Musk “reflect that I urged caution with respect to the [laptop] and noted that we needed more information to fully assess what was going on and to decide what to do,” and that he was “aware of no unlawful collusion with, or direction from, any government agency or political campaign” on what to do about the story.
Roth conceded that Twitter “made a mistake” in blocking the Post but insisted that the activity surrounding the story “at first glance, bore a lot of similarities to the 2016 Russian hack and leak operation,” and that Twitter “had to decide what to do” with the “only information we had to go on” at the time. He also claimed that the Twitter Files were misleading in that they show “a lot of discussions between Twitter employees and political staff on both sides of the aisle,” but not the fact that the staffers answering emails from political actors “did not have any kind of decision-making authority over policy enforcement.”
Navaroli testified that she was not involved in decisions about the laptop but maintained that Twitter’s leaders actually “bent and broke their own rules in order to protect some of the most dangerous speech on the platform” by former President Donald Trump, such as him telling the far-right group Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” a statement the meaning of which was debated at the time, but occurred during a presidential debate, not on Twitter. Navaroli claimed it was a “dog whistle” necessitating the creation of Twitter’s “Coded Incitement to Violence” policy.
She also accused Twitter of changing its rules to not penalize Trump for tweeting that “The Squad,” a four-member bloc of far-left female, nonwhite Democrat House members, should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” which his critics called racist at the time, due in part to the fact that three of the four members were actually born in the United States.
Committee Republicans were largely skeptical of the witnesses’ testimony. Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona asked Roth if he consulted with cybersecurity experts on hacking claims, which he denied, saying he was relying on public commentary from cybersecurity figures in the media. Others asked Baker, who is a former FBI attorney, if he reached out to the FBI for what they knew of the laptop’s authenticity; he said he did not recall speaking to anyone at the Bureau about the matter. Gadde said she did not recall doing so either.
Roth’s apparent disinterest in checking with the FBI was met with skepticism from Rep. Kelly Armstrong, who noted that failure to do so seemed inconsistent with the FBI specifically telling Twitter to expect a leak that was actually “foreign disinformation” in the coming days. Roth denied that the FBI’s interactions with Twitter constituted “pressure.”
“I don’t think this passes the smell test,” Armstrong said.
The most forceful GOP grilling came from Republican Reps. Nancy Mace of South Carolina and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. “You’re not a doctor, right, Ms. Gadde?” Mace asked. “What makes you think you or anyone else at Twitter have the medical expertise to censor actual, accurate, CDC data?” She went on to excoriate the officials for “censor[ing] Harvard-educated doctors, Stanford-educated doctors, doctors that are educated in the best places in the world, and you silenced those voices” for dissenting from the federal government’s conclusions on COVID-19 mitigation and treatment, such as prominent lockdown critic Dr. Jay Bhattacharya.
Greene, meanwhile, blasted the company’s former management for banning her account, which was not reinstated until Musk took over. “You can consider your speech canceled during my time because you canceled mine,” she said. “You abused the power of a large corporation — Big Tech — to censor Americans. I’m so glad you’ve lost your jobs.”
She also mentioned Roth’s 2016 Ph.D. thesis, highlighted by Musk in December, in which he suggested that efforts to deny minors’ access to online services such as the homosexual dating app Grindr were part of a “paranoid narrative.” Roth maintained that Greene had been restricted after disregarding repeated warnings about spreading “medical misinformation,” and Democratic Rep. Robert Garcia of California apologized to him for what he called Greene’s “homophobic rant.” Roth also claimed that Musk’s sharing of the story incited threats against him that forced him to change homes.
Committee Democrats disputed the significance of the laptop story and mocked the idea that Twitter had a liberal bias. Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia attempted to cast Republicans as hypocrites, citing the fact that Donald Trump had, according to Roth, asked Twitter to delete a disparaging tweet about him by celebrity Chrissy Teigen. A new Rolling Stone article details “routine” requests from Republicans to have Twitter take down objectionable content.
Journalist Matt Taibbi, whom Musk enlisted to cover the Twitter Files, responded by noting that the Twitter Files had acknowledged from the start that such requests came from both parties, but that the scale of the requests was hardly comparable:
I reported in #TwitterFiles 1 there had been requests from the Trump White House.
Then we showed agencies like the FBI sent spreadsheets with thousands of names at a time. And Adam Schiff’s office asked that ALL SEARCHES of his office be blocked.
But sure, Chrissy Teigen.
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) February 8, 2023
In November 2020, a survey of key swing states conducted by the conservative Media Research Center and The Polling Company weeks after the election found that 45.1% of Biden voters in those states had been unaware of the Hunter scandal, and that 9.4% of them would not have voted for Biden had they known. Last November, Rasmussen Reports found that 61% of Americans were supportive of House Republican efforts to investigate the Biden family.