Rep. Ro Khanna, D-California, said Friday that tech companies overstep when they censor social media news.
Tech reporter Kara Swisher and business professor Scott Galloway interviewed Khanna on their “Pivot” podcast after Twitter files revealed her private communication with then-legal policy officer Vijaya Gadde to express concern over the “breach principles of the First Amendment”.
When Swisher raised the issue that Twitter moderators may have valid concerns about foreign misinformation being repeated by US newspapers, Khanna stood firm.
“I guess I’m not sure that should be their responsibility,” he said. “I don’t think they need to fact check The New York Times and The Washington Post, The New York Post, and all the media publications to find out if the media is being played, I think it’s a fact check. sufficient.”
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Khanna defended her advocacy for free speech to Swisher, explaining that it’s about “the modern public square”. He suggested that while Twitter made the right decision to remove a nude photo of Hunter Biden, it went too far in censoring a New York Post article about the Bidens’ overseas business dealings.
“But to delete the New York Post story? I mean, look, the New York Post is not my friend,” he said. “I never would have thought to say ‘let’s block the New York Post’.”
He said Twitter had gone too far in removing accounts that shared the New York Post story and that it was “not a good look for Silicon Valley.”
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The California Demcorat, which represents Silicon Valley, noted that when it contacted Twitter, it did so privately because it believed the company was making a mistake.
After Twitter files revealed Khanna had contacted Twitter with concerns about censorship, he was surprised by the support and praise he received from conservatives for his stance.
“I was surprised how many conservatives who have criticized me in the past liked my stance on this,” he said. “It made me think this isn’t about Hunter Biden…What’s going on in this country is there’s too many times we try to silence people we don’t talk to. disagree, we try to condemn people we disagree with, we try to act like we’re morally superior to people we disagree with, and I think some people just said ‘thank you for believing that you can have honest disagreements in this country and that someone doesn’t have to be morally inferior if you disagree with them.'”
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The show of support from across the aisle made Khanna optimistic about the country’s ability to overcome the culture wars.
“I think to the extent that we can have more of that spirit in this country, we can have a chance to overcome the culture wars that have really polarized the nation,” he said.