MSNBC's Ari Melber on Monday seemed upset by news that Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion, saying that the platform could be manipulated in order to win elections. His concerns over hypotheticals were similar to those warnings issued by conservatives since the platform suppressed and censored information during the 2020 election cycle that could have changed the results.
Melber speculated regarding Musk, "If you own all of Twitter or Facebook or what have you, you don't have to explain yourself. You don't even have to be transparent. You could secretly ban one party's candidate or all of its candidates, all of its nominees, or you could just secretly turn down the reach of their stuff and turn up the reach of something else."
Twitter's incoming owner is a free speech absolutist who was spurred to purchase the platform, in part, to uphold the value of free speech and stop just the kind of behavior that Melber worries will happen.
"And the rest of us might not even find out about it until after the election. Elon Musk says this is all to help people because he is just a free speech, philosophically clear, open-minded helper," Melber said.
During in October of 2020, one month before the US Presidential election, Twitter suppressed the New York Post’s reporting regarding of the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop, which he abandoned in a Delaware computer repair shop in April 2019.
The laptop’s hard drive contained a cache of emails, text messages, photos and financial documents between Hunter Biden, his family and business associates. The emails revealed the President’s son using his political leverage in overseas business dealings.
Twitter locked the New York Post’s account as well as many others that shared the story. Other media outlets refused to report on the story or claimed that the materials were "Russian disinformation."
Emma Jo Morris, who broke the Hunter Biden laptop story in the Post, shared the Melber clip, saying "@AriMelber that would be crazy. Hey, similar thing actually already happened tho- next time you’re in New York I’ll show you this hard drive I got that belongs to Joe Biden’s corrupt son and that Twitter banned my reporting about 3 weeks before the last presidential election."
The New York Times, NPR, Politico and the Washington Post, worked to suppress the story, with the Times by publishing an article calling the report "unsubstantiated" in September 2021, then editing the story without publishing a formal correction notice.
Recently, several of those same outlets have recently confirmed the legitimacy of the content of the laptop.
A poll previously released by the Media Research Center showed that 16 percent of voters who were unaware of the Hunter Biden laptop scandal would have switched their minds and not voted for Joe Biden, had they known about it at the time.
According to a December 2020 Rasmussen poll, a majority of Americans believed that the media purposely buried the Hunter Biden laptop story to influence the 2020 election.
After the election, Hunter Biden revealed that he was under a federal investigation. Hunter Biden has been under investigation for failing to pay taxes since Joe Biden was US Vice President. In 2018, the inquiry expanded to investigate how Hunter’s international business dealings connected with President Biden’s political career. There are even reports that Hunter could be under as many as four investigations.
Republicans have repeatedly criticized Twitter over alleged bias against users who politically lean conservative. Sen. Tom Cotton, (R-AR), was locked out of his account after tweeting about the Black Lives Matter riots in June 2020.
During a 2019 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO), questioned a Twitter executive regarding the alleged bias.
During the testimoney, Twitter Director of Public Policy and Philanthropy Carlos Monje Jr., apologized to Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), for the company's decision in October 2017 to block one of her campaign ads.
The Libs of Tik Tok account, which highlights videos liberals post of themselves to the social media app TikTok, was locked out for "hateful conduct" by Twitter twice in one week. The company did not explain which tweet contained "hateful conduct."
Congressional Republicans such as Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), have been censored for tweeting on transgender issues.
Twitter also banned President Donald Trump following the January 6 riot in 2021, but allows well known bigots, antisemites, dictators and users who’ve been accused of murder full access to tweet.