House Republicans want Twitter's board of directors to preserve its records of Elon Musk's offer to purchase Twitter, including the board's consideration of the approval and its evaluation of shareholder interests.
GOP members of the House Judiciary Committee filed preservation notices to every member of Twitter's board of directors on Friday in preparation for an investigation into Twitter if they determine that any rejection of Musk's offer breached the board's fiduciary duty.
"As Congress continues to examine Big Tech and how to best protect Americans’ free speech rights, this letter serves as a formal request that you preserve all records and materials relating to Musk’s offer to purchase Twitter, including Twitter’s consideration and response to this offer, and Twitter’s evaluation of its shareholder interests with respect to Musk’s offer," the letter said.
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The letter, led by ranking member Jim Jordan, claimed Twitter had engaged in "heavy-handed censorship ... to silence prominent voices ... and stifle views that disagree with the prevailing progressive consensus" and argued that Twitter's conduct "undermines First Amendment principles" due to how Twitter acts as a "de facto town square."
The letter instructed Twitter's board to "take all reasonable steps to prevent the destruction or alteration, whether intentionally or negligently, of all documents, communications, and other information, including electronic information and metadata, that is or may be potentially responsive to this congressional inquiry." This documentation includes messages on official and personal accounts and records created via text messages, apps like WhatsApp, or encrypted apps like Telegram.
While the board has not responded to Musk's offer, the letter reflects the kinds of subpoenas Republicans could file against the Big Tech company if they succeed in winning the House majority in 2022.
Musk's offer has become a point of focus in the tech world. Musk released a new filing on Thursday claiming to have secured $46.5 billion in financing for his potential purchase of Twitter, confirming the viability of his April 14 offer to purchase 100% of Twitter for $41 billion. Twitter's board said it is reviewing the proposal, but it also has taken additional steps to resist a hostile takeover by Musk. This includes adopting a "poison pill" approach to its stock, which would make his attempted acquisition significantly harder. It remains unclear if the company will accept Musk's proposal or if the world's richest man will need to adopt other measures to acquire the company.
Some conservatives have claimed that Musk's acquisition of Twitter could prompt other Big Tech companies to restrict conservative accounts less. Musk claims that his desire to acquire Twitter was driven by the notion that Twitter is "important to the function of democracy, to the United States as a free country, and to help freedom in the world."
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Twitter has been a frequent target of scrutiny by conservatives for years. Criticism increased after Twitter decided to prevent a New York Post story about a laptop believed to have belonged to Hunter Biden from being shared before the 2020 election.
A Twitter representative did not respond to requests for comment from the Washington Examiner.