Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado questioned former Twitter executives during a Wednesday congressional hearing, asking if her personal Twitter account was “shadow-banned” in 2021.
“Did either of you shadow-ban my account, @laurenboebert?” Boebert asked Yoel Roth, the former head of Twitter’s office of Trust and Safety and Vijaya Gadde, the former chief legal officer at Twitter, during a Wednesday hearing on Twitter’s censorship practices. Roth resigned in November, shortly after Elon Musk finalized his purchase of the social media site, while Gadde was terminated.
“Shadow-banning” refers to a series of practices in which Twitter reduced the visibility and reach on certain accounts. Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, Stanford University’s Dr. Jay Bhattacharya and Fox News host Dan Bongino all were subjected to various forms of “shadow-banning,” according to documents released to journalist Bari Weiss by Elon Musk as part of the “Twitter Files” in December.
After Roth and Gadde denied shadow-banning the congresswoman, Boebert responded.
“Let me refresh your memory, because on March 12, 2021, Mr. Roth, I know you looked at it because fascist Twitter 1.0 had a public interest exceptions policy which means for members of Congress to be shadow banned, it had to go before you, Mr. Roth, so I’ll ask again: Did you shadow-ban my account? Yes or no?”
Roth again denied shadow-banning Boebert, prompting a rebuttal from the congresswoman, who said that Twitter staff informed her she had been shadow-banned for a tweet for 90 days. Boebert added that the type of measure taken was considered “aggressive” and that it kept her from communicating with her constituents.
“Who the hell do you think you are?” Boebert, who narrowly won her re-election bid in November, asked the former Twitter executives, saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin would have wished for the type of election interference she accused the executives of carrying out.
“I can reach out to Elon and to his staff, and I can see what’s happened ,and I can sit here today and hold you all in account,” Boebert concluded later. “I am angry for the millions of Americans who were silenced because of your decisions, because of your actions, because of your collusion with the federal government. They can’t reach out to Elon. They can’t sit here today and hold you in account.”
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