Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., sent a letter to the Department of Justice on Wednesday, asking the attorney general to look into accusations of censorship by Twitter and Facebook, after the big tech giants took steps to limit the exposure of a New York Post article critical of Hunter Biden.
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"I write to express my concerns regarding Twitter and Facebook’s recent actions to censor a prominent American news outlet," Buck began. "These actions violate the platform’s immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and threaten to chill free speech throughout our nation."
The NY Post story, entitled "Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad," touched upon reports that the former vice president's son had unscrupulous financial and business ties to a natural gas firm in Ukraine -- Burisma Holdings -- and that his father later stepped in to have a probing prosecutor fired for looking into the matter.
The article, which Fox News hasn't independently verified yet, also claimed that the outlet had been given emails showing Hunter had introduced his father Joe to a top executive at the energy firm, less than a year before the prosecutor was forced out.
"Recent reports and user videos indicate that Twitter is prohibiting users from sharing an article from the New York Post detailing Hunter Biden’s alleged email correspondence," Buck's letter continued. "In fact, the platform populates a message for users attempting to share the story that states, 'Your Tweet couldn’t be sent because this link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful. Visit our Help Center to learn more.'"
He highlighted similar steps taken by Facebook and included a quote from company spokesperson Andy Stone, defending the tech giant's actions.
Buck then suggested big tech companies have taken advantage of their prosecutorial immunity, given their recent actions regarding political speech, censorship, and the First Amendment.
"Platforms are granted broad immunity from prosecution under Section 230 in order to allow users to exercise their First Amendment right to free speech with limited moderation of only the most egregious and illegal communications," he explained. "Twitter and Facebook’s editorial decisions to block the New York Post’s story, while allowing the President to Iran to issue death threats against United States service members, do not meet the narrow content moderation protections granted to platforms under Section 230."
Buck added, "As such, I urge the DOJ to open an investigation into Twitter and Facebook’s harmful actions to censor free speech and curtail Americans’ access to a free press. I also urge the DOJ to consider removing Section 230 immunity for social media platforms that engage in political content moderation."
On Wednesday afternoon, NY Post business reporter Noah Manskar said the outlet's official Twitter account had been locked due to the Biden story being sourced from allegedly "hacked" information.
"The Post's primary Twitter account (@nypost) has also been locked because the Hunter Biden stories violate its rules against 'distribution of hacked material,' per email we received from Twitter," he wrote.