Portland News

The Hunter Biden story: mistakes were made

Hunter Biden
Image Commercially Licensed from: Unsplash

Hunter BidenSeveral former Twitter workers testified before senators on Wednesday that the company erred in a 2020 New York Post piece.

The relevant details concern Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Officials took special care to emphasize during the acknowledgements that the decision had not been taken by the administration.

The news

Republicans attacked James Baker, a former Twitter deputy counsel, for how Twitter’s management handled the laptop problem.

During the first substantial hearing before the House Oversight Committee for the new GOP majority looking into President Joe Biden’s family and administration, they also emphasized the larger concern about censorship.

The newly appointed CEO and owner of Twitter, Elon Musk, said that internal conversations and his “Twitter files,” which highlighted government repression, were made available to the public.

In other words, he asserted that the government had instructed Twitter to cover up the Hunter Biden laptop story.

Later, when questioned by Congress, the executives claimed that the administration had not instructed them to temporarily conceal the information.

According to Yoel Roth, the previous Head of Trust and Safety, managing the problem was difficult, especially considering the platform’s propensity for propagating false information.

“It isn’t obvious what the right response is to a suspected, but not confirmed, cyberattack by another government on a presidential campaign,” said Roth.

“I believe Twitter erred in this case, because we wanted to avoid repeating the mistakes of 2016.”

Twitter probe

The head of the House Oversight Committee and Republican from Kentucky, James Comer, has started looking into the Biden family’s financial affairs.

Musk’s internal communications exposed the decision to prohibit users from sharing the New York Post piece during the 2020 presidential election campaign, and Comer is now looking into the firm.

He was convinced that the government was responsible for omitting the news after looking through the “Twitter files.”

“America witnessed a coordinated campaign by social media companies, mainstream news, and the intelligence communities to suppress and de-legitimized the existence of Hunter Biden’s laptop and its contents,” said Comer.

Additionally, he said that in exchange for millions of dollars in pay, Twitter and the FBI worked together to protect Americans’ right to free expression.

The charges, however, were refuted by tech executives, senior employees, and government authorities familiar with the event.

“I am aware of no unlawful collusion with, or direction from, any government agency or political campaign on how Twitter should have handled the Hunter Biden laptop situation,” said James Baker.

“Even though many disagree with how Twitter handled the Hunter Biden matter, I believe that the public record reveals that my client acted in a manner that was fully consistent with the First Amendment.”

Read also: Extremist group suffer blow with 2 members charged


The Twitter crew admitted that they handled the New York Post article incorrectly.

They did, however, stress that their capacity to make wise judgments was adversely affected by the emphasis on battling incorrect information.

Former Twitter chief legal officer Vijaya Gadded claims that after agreeing to unblock the Hunter Biden story, Twitter ought to have instantly reinstated The New York Post’s account.

The choice to keep quiet about the laptop incident was criticized by Roth.

He asserted, however, that Twitter’s evaluation was tainted by the “real Russian actions” they observed taking place in 2020.

Republicans on the other hand criticized the witnesses for keeping quiet because they thought Russia was seeking to influence the 2020 election.

“You all led the American people to believe (it) was Russian disinformation, when in fact it was not,” said Comer.

“This is something this committee should be concerned about.”

A rookie Democrat from New York named Dan Goldman argued against it by saying that Twitter and former intelligence officials had good grounds to believe that fake information from Russia was being spread.

He said that Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s former attorney, had backed the story.

According to Goldman, the allegations of misbehavior were comparable to prior Russian misinformation campaigns.

The Democrat said that Giuliani had worked with a known Russian agent who would face penalties for his role in the 2020 race to plan his prior anti-Biden activities.


Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland began his speech by saying that Republicans were trying to stir up controversy by employing a private firm rather than focusing on important concerns.

“The majority has called a hearing to revisit a two-year-old story about a private editorial decision by Twitter not to allow links to a single New York Post article made for a two-day period that had no discernible influence on anyone or anything,” said Raskin.

“Instead of letting this trivial pursuit go, my colleagues have tried to whip up a faux scandal about this two-day lapse in their ability to spread Hunter Biden propaganda on a private media platform.”

“Silly does not even begin to capture this obsession.”

On Wednesday, Anika Collier Navaroli, a former Twitter leaker, made an appearance in court.

Navaroli encouraged Congress to concentrate on what Twitter did before the catastrophe on January 6, 2021.

“Twitter leadership bent and broke their own rules in order to protect some of the most dangerous speech on the platform,” said Navaroli.

Twitter guard

This hearing on Wednesday will be the second time in a row that the FBI and social media corporations have come under fire for their actions in the final hours of a presidential election.

Twitter was one of the social media platforms that faced criticism in 2016 for its shoddy handling of misinformation operations, particularly those from the Russian government.

This time, their close splicing is being scrutinized.

Subpoenas were also obtained by the witnesses in order for them to appear before the committee.

The story

The administration of Twitter was cautious about any posts that would have had an international impact after The New York Post’s report on Hunter Biden’s laptop was published in October.

Even in the absence of a directive from the administration, they were prepared to act.

Yoel Roth had two years’ worth of conversations with FBI agents and government representatives, so he was ready for any nefarious activities.

Republicans, on the other hand, used the opportunity provided by the testimony of the former Twitter executives to express their concerns on the laptop incident as well as other typical conservative critiques of the firm.

Republican Representative Jim Jordan said that the FBI had deceived the former workers and that the Hunter Biden article from the New York Post had been taken down by management.




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