Senate committee to subpoena Twitter CEO over blocking stories

Senate Republicans are upset after Twitter blocked stories that highlighted a disputed report about Joe Biden.

Jack Dorsey
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is facing a US Senate subpoena [Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters]

The US Senate Judiciary Committee is moving to subpoena Twitter’s Chief Executive Jack Dorsey after the social media platform decided to block stories from the New York Post that made claims about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son.

Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham and Republican senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley said the committee will vote on sending the subpoena next Tuesday and plan to have Dorsey in front of the committee by Friday, October 23.

Senator Ted Cruz, left , and Senator Lindsey Graham have spoken out against Twitter’s decision and plan to subpoena the company’s chairman to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee [Greg Nash/Pool via AP]

Meanwhile, Twitter on Thursday temporarily restricted US President Donald Trump’s election campaign account from tweeting, saying a video from the account about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son violated its rules.

The video posted by the @TeamTrump account referred to a New York Post story from Wednesday that contained alleged details of Hunter Biden’s business dealings with a Ukrainian energy company and said the former vice president had met with an adviser of the company.

“Joe Biden is a liar who has been ripping off our country for years,” the video was captioned.

Twitter said the video violated its rules against posting private information, adding the account may need to delete the post in order to continue tweeting.

“It’s going to all end up in a big lawsuit and there are things that can happen that are very severe that I’d rather not see happen, but it’s probably going to have to,” Trump said, when asked about the move by Twitter.

Twitter said on Wednesday the Post story violated its “hacked materials” policy, which bars the distribution of content obtained through hacking that contains private information or trade secrets, or puts people at risk of physical harm. Dorsey did admit that their communication about why they were blocking messaging “was not great” and that doing so “with zero context as to why” was “unacceptable”.

Facebook and Twitter took proactive steps on Wednesday to restrict dissemination of the Post story in the hours after it was published.

Twitter had placed similar restrictions on the account of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Wednesday, after she shared the Post story.

On Wednesday during his Des Moines, Iowa campaign rally, Trump criticised Facebook and Twitter for “taking negative posts down” about the Post report.

“They’re trying to protect him. They’re trying to protect Biden,” Trump said.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies