Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is calling on the Justice Department and the Treasury Department to conduct a criminal investigation into Twitter probing whether the tech giant is violating U.S. sanctions against Iran by providing Iranian leaders an online platform.
In a letter addressed to Attorney General William Barr and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Friday, Cruz accused Twitter of violating sanctions that prohibit American corporations from providing services to the Middle Eastern nation’s leaders by allowing top officials to remain on the site. In February, Cruz had previously written to Twitter urging the social media company to remove Iranian leaders from the platform in a letter with three other Republican senators.
“I believe that the primary goal of (the International Emergency Economic Powers Act) and sanctions law should be to change the behavior of designated individuals and regimes,” Cruz wrote. “But 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.”
Cruz’s latest calls for a federal probe into Twitter’s potential violations of U.S. sanctions come on the heels of controversy surrounding the site’s decision to censor two of President Donald Trump’s tweets this week.
On Tuesday, the social media company began fact-checking the president’s posts with a warning label on a pair of Trump tweets regarding mail-in voting.
“There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent,” Trump wrote.
“Get the facts about mail-in ballots,” Twitter stuck to the posts.
The decision to fact-check the president on claims that actually hold merit was followed Thursday with a new White House executive order seeking to strip social media companies of broad liability protections provided under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Late Thursday night, Twitter censored the president again over a tweet condemning the Minneapolis rioters tearing down the city. This time Twitter attached a note reading to the post reading, “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”
Meanwhile, the supreme leader of Iran Ali Khamenei has continued to post on the site explicitly promoted violence on the platform without censorship.
— Ajit Pai (@AjitPaiFCC) May 29, 2020
Twitter did not respond when asked why it has failed to register as an agent of the foreign governments whose propaganda it publishes unfiltered.