https://slaynews.com/news/free-speech-online-is-under-attack-house-gop-steps-in-demands-twitter-board-preserve-all-records-about-musks-bid/

Congressional lawmakers have officially weighed in after Twitter’s Board of Directors has dug its heels in to reject Elon Musk’s offer to buy the company.

A group of 18 House Republicans has put Twitter’s board on notice, demanding that members preserve all records related to Musk’s offer to buy the company.

The group of GOP lawmakers warned that “free speech online is under attack” and raised concerns that the board’s refusal to accept Musk’s offer may be politically motivated and not in the interest of the shareholders.

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee wrote a letter to Twitter Board Chairman Bret Taylor regarding the dispute.

Taylor has been told to preserve any messages from official or personal accounts, including through encryption software, about Musk’s offer.

The letter said: “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.

“You should construe this preservation notice as an instruction 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.

“Decisions regarding Twitter’s future governance will undoubtedly be consequential for public discourse in the United States and could give rise to renewed efforts to legislate in furtherance of preserving free expression online.

“Among other things, the Board’s reactions to Elon Musk’s offer to purchase Twitter, and outsider opposition to Musk’s role in Twitter’s future are concerning.

“Free speech online is under attack by Big Tech. In particular, Twitter has increasingly engaged in “heavy-handed censorship . . . to silence prominent voices . . . and stifle views that disagree with the prevailing progressive consensus.”

“Big Tech’s eroding commitment to free speech prevents informed public discourse and undermines First Amendment principles.

“These harms follow from how Twitter and other social media companies increasingly function as the“de facto public town square” for the American people.

“Decisions regarding Twitter’s future governance will undoubtedly be consequential for public discourse in the United States and could give rise to renewed efforts to legislate in furtherance of preserving free expression online.

“Among other things, theBoard’sreactions to ElonMusk’s offer to purchase Twitter, and outsider opposition to Musk’s role in Twitter’sfuture are concerning.

“Twitter’s Board Members have fiduciary duties to the company shareholders,” the letter said.

“These duties apply despite how many corporations’ leaders increasingly pursue progressive policy goals divorced from shareholder interests.”

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