X

Senator Ted Cruz Calls for Criminal Investigation into Twitter

Twitter AH NS 04
Advertisement
Advertisement

On May 29 the Republican senator for Texas, Ted Cruz called for a criminal investigation into the actions of Twitter as Axios reported. Cruz claims the company is violating U.S. sanctions with Iran and has demanded the company is investigated.

This comes in the context of Twitter adding fact checks and a warning label to President Trump’s tweets. The President has fired out at Twitter meaning Cruz’s calls for a criminal investigation just add to issues for the company.

What exactly has Happened

On Friday 29 May Ted Cruz wrote a letter to Attorney General Bill Barr and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin accusing twitter of violating sanctions with Iran. He claims that Twitter has allowed Iranian leaders to maintain accounts on the service despite these sanctions.

Advertisement

Cruz’s is quoted as saying, “when a company willfully and openly violates the law after receiving formal notice that it is unlawfully supporting designated individuals, the federal government should take action.” This type of attack on Twitter only adds to the company’s woes as they have been in disputes with politicians for months now.

Twitter, who currently has record number of users thanks to the lockdown measures, claims that it is in the public interest to have political figures on their platform. This is even if some find their speech objectionable. Republican politicians are up in arms about this considering the way President Trump has been treated on the site.

The Background

Arguments between Twitter and U.S. politicians have been raging for a while now. Back in February Cruz campaigned to the Twitter CEO to ban Iranian leaders from the platform. Twitter responded in April claiming that their service was exempt from such sanctions. The company claims that public conversation is critical to the platform especially in current times.

Advertisement

Twitter’s legal, public policy & trust and safety lead did respond directly to the claims. Vijaya Gadde said, “Fundamental values of openness, free expression, public accountability, and mutual understanding matter now more than ever”.  He went onto say that this applied regardless of the political agenda of a nation-state. Twitter believes banning these individuals would be against its purpose which is to serve the public.

However, Twitter has declined to comment on Cruz’s most recent calls for a criminal investigation. This war between politicians looks as if it is going to rage on over the coming weeks and months. With more strict fact-checking and rules around glorifying violence coming into play, it is difficult to see this going away. Twitter has taken a strong stance on fake news as well its community guidelines so it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.