(CNSNews.com) — During a House Oversight Committee hearing about Twitter’s censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story, Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) used her time to show how “Twitter worked overtime to suppress accurate COVID information,” over the course of the pandemic.
On Feb. 8, the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability held a hearing entitled “Protecting Speech from Government Interference and Social Media Bias, Part 1: Twitter’s Role in Suppressing the Biden Laptop Story.”
The four witnesses called to testify before the committee were Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s former Chief Legal Officer; James Baker, Twitter’s former Deputy General Counsel; Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former Global Head of Trust & Safety; and Anika Collier Navaroli, a former Twitter whistleblower.
“The Twitter Files were not just about Hunter Biden’s laptop, the Twitter Files make it apparent that Twitter worked overtime to suppress accurate COVID information,” said Rep. Mace in her opening remarks.
“Doctor Jay Bhattacharya is a professor of medicine at Stanford who once tweeted an article he wrote about natural immunity,” said Mace. “Thanks to Elon Musk’s release of the Twitter Files we learned some of his tweets were tagged with the label of ‘trends blacklist.’ Apparently the views of a Stanford Doctor are misinformation to you people.”
Mace then went on to share her personal story with the COVID-19 vaccine, arguing that Twitter suppressed important information that she, and many Americans, would have liked to have been aware of prior to taking the shot.
“I, along with many Americans, have long-term effects from COVID,” she said. “Not only was I long-hauler, but I have effects from the vaccine. It wasn’t the first shot, but it was the second shot that I now developed asthma that has never gone away since I had the second shot.”
“I have tremors in my left hand and I have the occasional heart pain that no doctor can explain, and I’ve had a battery of tests,” added Mace. “I find it extremely alarming Twitter’s unfettered censorship spread into medical fields, and affected millions of Americans by suppressing expert opinions from doctors and censoring those who disagree with the CDC.”
“I have great regrets about getting the shot because of the health issues that I now have, that I don’t think are ever going to go away, and I know that I’m not the only American who has those kinds of concerns,” she added.
“Another example of what Twitter has done to censor folks is from Doctor Martin Kulldorff, a Harvard-educated epidemiologist who once tweeted, ‘COVID vaccines are important for high risk people and their caretakers. Those with prior natural infection do not need it, nor children.’ The Twitter files reveal this tweet was deemed false information because it ran contrary to the CDC.”
“So, my first question this morning is of Ms. Gadde. May I ask of you, where did you go to medical school?” asked Rep. Mace.
“I did not go to medical school,” answered Gadde.
“That’s what I thought,” Mace replied.
“Why do you think you or anyone else at Twitter had the medical expertise to censor a doctor’s expert opinion?” Mace asked.
“Our policies regarding COVID were designed to protect individuals,” said Gadde.
“You guys censored Harvard-educated doctors, Stanford-educated doctors, doctors that are educated in the best places in the world and you silenced those voices,” Mace passionately interrupted.
“I have another tweet by someone with a following of a full 18,000 followers,” Mace said. “This person put a chart from the CDC on Twitter. It’s the CDC’s own data, so it’s accurate by your standards, and you all labeled this as misleading.”
“You’re not a doctor, right Ms. Gadde?” asked Mace.
“No,” Gadde replied.
“Okay, what makes you think or anyone else at Twitter have the medical expertise to censor actual, accurate CDC data?” asked Mace.
“I’m not familiar with these particular situations,” said Gadde, to which Mace responded, “Yeah, I’m sure you’re not.”
“But this is what Twitter did,” Mace continued, “they labeled this as inaccurate. It is the government’s own data. It’s ridiculous that we’re even having to have this conversation today. It’s not just about the laptop, this is about medical advice that expert doctors were trying to give Americans because social media companies like Twitter were silencing their voices.”
“Did the U.S. government ever contact you or anyone at Twitter to pressure Twitter to moderate or censor certain tweets, yes or no?” Mace asked Gadde.
“We receive legal demands to remove content from the platform from the U.S. government and from governments all around the world. Those are published on a third party website and anyone can review them,” Gadde explained.
“Thank God for Matt Taibbi, thank God for Elon Musk for allowing to show us and the world that Twitter was basically a subsidiary of the FBI, censoring real medical voices with real expertise that put real Americans’ lives in danger because they didn’t have that information,” said Mace.
Mace also expressed her gratitude for Rep. Ro Khanna’s (D-Calif.) decision to send a letter to Twitter expressing his concern about their censoring of the Hunter Biden laptop story. If it were not for the revelations in the Twitter Files, his letter would have never been made known to the public.
“I also want to thank one of my colleagues, Ro Khanna, because as it turns out, censorship isn’t just an important issue to conservatives,” said Mace. “Some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, like Ro, found this censorship very concerning and even wrote to you and to folks at Twitter, that he was concerned about the First Amendment being censored. So I want to thank him for speaking up and speaking out about this issue, because this should not be a partisan issue, this should be an issue that’s an American issue.”
After part of the Twitter Files were released by Elon Musk, they revealed Khanna’s letter. In his commentary for the Wall Street Journal, “Twitter’s Duty to Protect Free Speech,” Khanna defended his advocacy for social media companies to abide by the First amendment.
“Although Twitter is a private actor not legally bound by the First Amendment, Twitter has come to function as a modern public square,” wrote Khanna. “As such, Twitter has a responsibility to the public to allow the free exchange of ideas and open debate.”
Many Democrats on the House Oversight Committee expressed frustration with the subject matter of the hearing, arguing that it was not an important matter, and that Twitter, a private company, is free to do what it wants.
“Why does the U.S. Congress have to be involved in this nonsense when we have serious work to do for the American people,” said Ranking Member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) in his opening remarks.
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