Sen. Graham Signals Twitter Subpoena Over Blocking NYP Stories

Lindsey Graham
(Image credit: State Department)

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said the committee will issue a subpoena next Tuesday to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to testify about his company's blocking New York Post stories over the past couple of days on Hunter Biden.

The stories, about connections with China and Russia, are based on e-mails allegedly from Hunter Biden's computer.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), talking during a break in the confirmation hearings Thursday (Oct. 15), said that both Twitter and Facebook had interfered in the election in favor of Joe Biden by blocking the stories about his son and that the committee planned a hearing to question Dorsey next Friday (Oct. 23).

Graham, speaking at the same break, said that stories about President Trump and Russian election meddling had never been blocked, and that an "accounting" of social media platforms was overdue because the stories' blocking by twitter "crystalizes" the problem with Big Tech, which was that "the power behind these platforms has been taken to a dangerous level.

The announcement followed letters sent Thursday by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) to Facebook and Twitter inviting them to testify before Congress on the same issue. Hawley said Thursday the subpoena should be extended to Facebook as well.

Hawley and other critics of the blocking decisions argue that those moves violate campaign finance reform law because it constitutes an in-kind contribution to the Biden campaign.

Hawley wrote letters to both Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to invite them to testify before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, which Hawley chairs.

Hawley said Twitter was "asymmetrically applying its terms of service and restricting the distribution of a New York Post article entitled “Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad,” as well as by suspending the official account of the presidential campaign of Donald Trump for
discussing this story."

He told Zuckerberg that his company had contributed to the campaign by "suppressing the distribution" of the Post story.

Hawley is one of Big Tech's biggest critics in Washington.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.