The former Twitter legal chief responsible for censoring a news story about President Biden’s son on the platform ahead of the 2020 presidential election told Congress Wednesday that the extended lock on The New York Post’s account over the report was a mistake “in hindsight.”
Vijaya Gadde, who was terminated from Twitter after Elon Musk acquired the platform last year, admitted to the House Oversight and Accountability Committee that she ultimately approved the decision to block The Post’s October 14, 2020, report about Hunter Biden’s laptop and its contents, but said the move should have been reversed quicker.
In her opening statement before the panel led by Chairman James Comer, R-Tenn., Gadde said Twitter blocked tweets containing the Post’s 2020 article based on a 2018 policy the company implemented aimed at preventing the platform from “becoming a dumping ground for hacked materials.”
The ex-legal chief said images embedded in the article “looked like they may have been obtained through hacking” at the time.
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Several other news outlets have since confirmed that the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop were not obtained from hacking nor from a Russian disinformation campaign, as the Biden campaign and others alleged.
Gadde emphasized, “At no point did Twitter or otherwise prevent tweeting, reporting, discussing or describing the contents of Mr. Biden’s laptop,” saying, “[p]eople could and did talk about the contents of the laptop on Twitter or anywhere else, including other much larger platforms, but they were prevented from sharing the primary documents on Twitter.”
“Still,” she continued, “over the course of that day, it became clear that Twitter had not fully appreciated the impact of that policy on Free Press and others.”
Twitter’s suppression of the Hunter Biden story just weeks ahead of the 2020 presidential election ignited a firestorm, and Republicans accused the company of working with the Biden campaign and the federal government to influence the results of the election.
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A mass release of Twitter’s internal documents a few months ago, known as the Twitter files, revealed that multiple high-level Twitter executives eventually agreed to emergency moderation measures to stop the spread of the Hunter Biden story, even though many of them were worried they had little justification to employ such measures.
Gadde noted in her testimony Wednesday that former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey previously testified before Congress that the decision to block the report was “wrong” and that the company lifted the ban within 24 hours – but kept the Post’s account on lockdown.
“Twitter informed the New York Post that it could immediately begin tweeting when it deleted the original tweets, which would have freed them to retweet the same content again,” she said. “The New York Post chose not to delete its original tweets. So Twitter made an exception after two weeks to retroactively apply the new policy to the Post’s tweets. In hindsight Twitter should have reinstated the post account immediately.”
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FOX News’ Anders Hagstrom and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.