January 23, 2022

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Democrat Rep. Ro Khanna says Twitter should not have suppressed the Hunter Biden laptop story

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Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., said Twitter made a “mistake” in 2020 when it suppressed a New York Post bombshell that was highly critical of President Biden’s son Hunter.

Khanna’s remarks came during an interview with Joe Lonsdale on the American Optimist podcast about his new book, “Dignity in a Digital Age: Making Tech Work for All of Us.”

“I am not for having either the government, or you know, tech companies ultimately being the arbiter of truth,” Khanna told Lonsdale. “I’m for making sure that we don’t have speech that incites violence, but I’m very wary of censorship.”

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“In the book, I write about how I thought it was a mistake for Twitter to take down some of the stuff about Hunter Biden,” he added. “I think that story was total hogwash. I think Joe Biden was unfairly attacked because of his son, but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t belong in the public sphere.”

The Post report included emails that allegedly came from Hunter Biden’s laptop. Twitter went to extremes by preventing users from accessing the article through a link on Twitter. The company initially claimed the piece violated its policy on sharing hacked material, though there was no evidence that the emails published by the Post were hacked. It eventually became accessible on Twitter after the tech giant faced a backlash. 

Hunter Biden

Hunter Biden
(Kris Connor/WireImage | New York Post)

Khanna also expressed optimism about competition within the tech industry and having a “multiplicity of social discursive spaces emerge.” He stressed the importance of ensuring that larger platforms are “not squelching competitors.”

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“I’m not for allowing acquisitions where it looks like things could emerge as competition. … I don’t think Facebook should have been allowed to acquire Instagram and WhatsApp,” he added.

Twitter headquarters is seen in San Francisco, California, United States on Oct. 27, 2021.

Twitter headquarters is seen in San Francisco, California, United States on Oct. 27, 2021.
(Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“I don’t have this view that all Americans are so manipulatable that somehow because of Facebook they aren’t capable of free critical thinking,” Khanna said, adding that he has a “concern” over the usage of social media with algorithms by minors.

Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.

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