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Tipsheet

Josh Hawley Pens Letter to Musk After Twitter Buy. Here's What He Wants to Know.

Evelyn Hockstein/Pool via AP

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) sent a letter to Elon Musk after the billionaire’s acquisition of Twitter, calling on the entrepreneur to issue a public audit of the social media company’s censorship practices.

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"In recent years, Twitter has intervened in American discourse with an increasingly heavy hand, attempting to shape the information environment for overtly partisan reasons,” Hawley wrote. “Algorithms didn’t make those calls; employees did. And at this point, the American people deserve to know the truth about what went on at Twitter for years behind closed doors."

Some particularly salient questions to investigate in the audit include the following:

  • Who was responsible for deliberately suppressing the New York Post’s now-vindicated reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop and business dealings?
      
  • How many Twitter users have had their accounts suspended, and why?
      
  • How many Twitter users have been shadowbanned, and why?
      
  • Do Twitter’s shadowbanning and suspension patterns evince a consistent political bias?
      
  • Have Twitter employees, since news of your acquisition of the platform became public, made changes to the platform or deleted records of their time at the service?

Hawley argued such an audit is “essential” when Musk begins rebuilding a new culture at Twitter.

"Twitter has largely evaded public accountability over the past several years," Hawley said. "Since I’ve been in the Senate, I’ve sent a number of oversight inquiries to the company. These letters cover subjects as diverse as content moderation policies, viewpoint discrimination, suppression of content, and Twitter’s own security. Twitter, not surprisingly, has effectively ignored these requests."

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In 2019, for example, Hawley penned a letter to then Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, calling for an audit of the company’s suspension policies.

Musk now has a "chance to make that kind of audit a reality."

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