Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., stated on “Sunday Night in America with Trey Gowdy” how Twitter violated the First Amendment based on a report released by the platform’s CEO Elon Musk on Friday.
Musk released the documents to Substack journalist Matt Taibbi, who revealed that Twitter employees had extensive internal collaborations with U.S. lawmakers and political officials over tweets they deemed problematic. This included the suppression of New York Post’s story on Hunter Biden’s laptop just days before the 2020 election based on requests from the Biden campaign.
While the reports referenced some collaboration with conservative lawmakers as well, there were more examples involving liberal views. Buck argued that this proved Twitter had a clear bias in favor of the Democratic Party.
“It is clear from the releases that Twitter had institutional bias against conservatives. They favored liberals, and they used what they called content moderation to make decisions that hurt Republicans during elections and that’s what I think is so dangerous about these monopolies,” Buck said.
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Many liberal commentators and media pundits insisted that Twitter as a private company did not violate the First Amendment by deleting or suppressing conservative viewpoints. However, Buck said a private company like Twitter can still violate free speech rights “when the private company supplants the government function.”
“In other words, when the government can contact Twitter or any of these social media platforms and tell those social media platforms we want you to take this person’s name off, or we want you to change your algorithm as it pertains to this particular issue. It could be COVID vaccines, it could be mask mandates, it could be Hunter Biden laptop stories, doesn’t really matter. When government is directing a private company in a way the government can’t act itself because it is a violation of our First Amendment rights then that company can’t act that way,” the Colorado lawmaker said.
He continued, “There are Supreme Court cases on the subject, and it is really clear that the Democrats, the Biden administration in particular, has had great influence over these social media platforms and Elon Musk has had enough, and he is revealing the internal communications that occurred with Twitter employees and the external communications that occurred with government officials.”
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Buck said he believes that the courts will be “looking into this” to support the rights of private individuals. In the meantime, he suggested Congress to break up what he described as “monopolies” by social media companies like Twitter.
“But I think what government, what Congress really could do in this case is to make sure that there is competition for Facebook, that there is competition for Twitter, Amazon, Apple, that if we have competitors we have a lot less concern about any type of entanglement because there are other sources of information that will get into the public knowledge and help in this battle of ideas,” Buck said.
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“I say that because if we had the same situation with cable news or if we had the same situation with newspapers or talk radio, we’re not as concerned because there are so many competitors in the marketplace. When you only have Twitter dominating this particular area or Facebook dominating that area then that’s really where the problem arises,” he concluded.