- The Washington Times
Friday, January 14, 2022

More than a dozen House Republicans sent a letter Friday to Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal threatening to hold social media companies accountable for censoring conservative voices.

The letter highlighted Twitter’s suspension of the account of Dr. Robert Malone, a researcher involved in the development of mRNA vaccines who has been critical of the vaccine program. The lawmakers said the reasons for Twitter’s censorship were not transparent and those who are banned or censored don’t have a clearly available recourse.

“For far too long, Big Tech companies, such as Twitter, have been able to censor important voices without recourse available to those affected,” said the letter, which was spearheaded by Rep. Troy Nehls of Texas. “While the 117th Congress has failed to address the need to update and modify Federal law and regulations impacting the internet and social media, it is highly probable that under new leadership in 2023, Congress will spearhead an effort to hold Big Tech accountable for its arbitrary censorship practices.”

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Dr. Malone has questioned the U.S. government and pharmaceutical industry’s conduct responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and developing vaccines. Twitter banned him in early January after his tweets questioned the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines.

The ban came just three months after Mr. Agrawal took over the top job at the social media platform. Since then, several high-profile accounts were banned, suspended or their content was restricted. The recently targeted posts appeared to mostly involve COVID-19 or criticism of the Biden administration.

Censored Twitter accounts include those of Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, the Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh, the Blaze Media Podcaster Daniel Horowitz, Project Veritas Chief of Staff Eric Spracklen and scientist Michael Makris.

The House members asked Mr. Agrawal several questions about Dr. Malone‘s suspension from Twitter including the specific post that Dr. Malone violated within Twitter’s COVID-19 misleading information policy that led to the suspension of his Twitter account.

In the letter, which was sent Friday, the Congress members asked Mr. Agrawal several questions about Dr. Malone‘s suspension from Twitter, including what was the specific post by Dr. Malone that violated Twitter’s policy on misleading information about COVID-19 and led to the suspension of his Twitter account.

They also asked if Twitter’s COVID-19 “misleading information policy is synthetic and manipulated media policy changed since your becoming CEO? If so, would Dr. Malone‘s account have been suspended under the prior policies for the same post?”

The letter notes that one of Twitter’s stated principles is “Making it straightforward. Simple is good, but straightforward is better. Our product, our behavior, and our work habits should all be transparent and to the point.”

They also asked if Mr. Agrawal believes that suspending accounts without explanation complies with his company’s principle of being “straightforward” and “transparent?”

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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