House Republicans Pass Anti-Censorship Legislation

( – House Republicans passed on Thursday legislation aimed at preventing federal officials from advocating or supporting censorship on social media. The measure, which is named the Protecting Speech from Government Interference Act, was introduced in response to different efforts from Democrats and members of the Biden administration to force social media companies to censor information and content. 

The legislation passed with a vote of 219-206, and it prohibits federal employees from advocating for censoring on these platforms in their capacity, or recommending that any third party could censor speech through any type of action. Kentucky Republican Congressman James Comer, who was the lead sponsor of this measure, explained during the hearing that the legislation would essentially enlarge the Hatch Act, representing a measure that would solidify free speech and protect private sector internet platforms.

Over the last few years, Democrats have been accused of pressuring social media companies such as Facebook or Twitter to censor different types of content and information. When introducing the legislation back in January, numerous House Republicans claimed that its sponsors cited different situations when Biden administration officials used their influence to censor and police Americans’ free speech expressed on these platforms.

During the hearing, Florida Republican Congressman Byron Donalds asked former global head of trust and safety at Twitter Yoel Roth how many tweets were removed or flagged at the behest of the White House. He denied the characterization of the question and explained to lawmakers that some tweets were simply reported and the company evaluated each one of them under its own rules.

The Thursday hearing also featured numerous references to the so-called “Twitter Files,” which have been numerous reports conducted by famous journalists who have revealed internal communications between different members of the social media platform and outside actors.

David Zweig, who has been releasing some of the “Twitter Files” posts, told lawmakers during the hearing that internal files he reviewed showed that both the Biden and Trump administrations pressed the company to censor content and information.

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