In a stunningly brazen move, Twitter has locked the Trump campaign out of its official Twitter account less than three weeks before Election Day on November 3. While Twitter unlocked the campaign after about two hours, the move is extremely noteworthy. Twitter locked the Trump campaign after moving against a New York Post article about Hunter Biden. Republican senators have announced they will subpoena Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey over similar moves.
“Twitter has suspended [The Trump campaign Twitter account] for posting a video calling Joe Biden a liar who has been ripping off our country for years, as it relates to the [New York Post] article. 19 days out from the election,” Mike Hahn, a social media staffer for the campaign, announced on Twitter.
Hahn included a screenshot of a Twitter notice telling the Trump campaign “your account has been locked” for “posting private information.”
19 days out from the election. pic.twitter.com/Z9FFzridyr
— Mike Hahn (@mikehahn_) October 15, 2020
Roughly 2.5 hours after Hahn announced the lockout, the Trump campaign announced it had been unlocked and tweeted the same video again.
“We are back and we are re-posting the video Twitter doesn’t want you to watch. JOE BIDEN IS A LIAR WHO HAS BEEN RIPPING OFF OUR COUNTRY FOR YEARS! PASS IT ON,” the campaign tweeted.
We are back and we are re-posting the video Twitter doesn’t want you to watch.
JOE BIDEN IS A LIAR WHO HAS BEEN RIPPING OFF OUR COUNTRY FOR YEARS!
PASS IT ON. pic.twitter.com/pSWyycFrEF
— Team Trump (Text VOTE to 88022) (@TeamTrump) October 15, 2020
The video concerns a blockbuster story The New York Post published on Wednesday. The story involved a “smoking gun” email allegedly proving that then-Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter introduced the VP to an executive at the notoriously corrupt Ukrainian gas company Burisma — before Joe Biden pressured the Ukrainian president to fire a prosecutor looking into Burisma. This evidence appears to contradict Joe Biden’s repeated claims that he never discussed business deals with Hunter during his vice presidency.
Facebook announced that it was reducing the article’s distribution, even before any fact-check. Twitter also locked people out of their accounts when they tried to share the article, even cracking down on White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
On Wednesday evening, Dorsey admitted it was “unacceptable” for Twitter to block URL sharing via tweet or direct message “with zero context as to why we’re blocking.”
The company claimed that the two New York Post articles contained images that “include personal and private information — like email addresses and phone numbers — which violate our rules.” Twitter argued that the materials violated its “Hacked Materials Policy.”
“Commentary on or discussion about hacked materials, such as articles that cover them but do not include or link to the materials themselves, aren’t a violation of this policy. Our policy only covers links to or images of hacked material themselves,” Twitter argued. “The policy, established in 2018, prohibits the use of our service to distribute content obtained without authorization. We don’t want to incentivize hacking by allowing Twitter to be used as distribution for possibly illegally obtained materials.”
“We know we have more work to do to provide clarity in our product when we enforce our rules in this manner. We should provide additional clarity and context when preventing the Tweeting or DMing of URLs that violate our policies,” the company concluded.
Many commentators countered this argument.
“You didn’t lock Rachel Maddow out of her account when she was posting about President Trumps alleged tax returns which were obtained illegally,” Mark Dice tweeted.
Will Chamberlain, editor-in-chief at Human Events, asked, “What is your evidence that the materials were ‘obtained through hacking?’”
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) condemned Dorsey’s statement, saying it is “not nearly good enough. In fact, it’s a joke. It’s downright insulting. I will ask you – and [Facebook] – to give an explanation UNDER OATH to the Senate subcommittee I chair. These are potential violations of election law, and that’s a crime.”
Hawley formally requested that Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appear before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism in a hearing titled “Digital Platforms and Election Interference.”
NEW — U.S. Senator Josh Hawley has formally requested @Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and @Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to appear before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism in a coming hearing titled "Digital Platforms and Election Interference.” pic.twitter.com/VlXBo17bX0
— Senator Hawley Press Office (@SenHawleyPress) October 15, 2020
While Twitter did unlock the Trump campaign account, it is extremely distressing that the Big Tech company would lock a presidential campaign’s account less than three weeks before Election Day.
Editor’s Note: It’s time for conservatives to stand together and fight big-tech censorship. Join PJ Media VIP and use the promo code CENSORSHIP for 25% off your VIP membership.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.