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Gabrielle Settles
By Gabrielle Settles May 31, 2023

Fight breaks out in congressional hearing? That’s a fake claim

If Your Time is short

  • A Facebook video did not show a fight break out during a congressional hearing. 

  • The video is a clip from a Feb. 8 U.S. House Oversight and Accountability committee hearing, where former Twitter executives testified about their roles in limiting tweets about a New York Post story on Hunter Biden’s laptop.

In the heat of the moment, congressional leaders can say things that sound like fightin’ words. But did a brawl break out on the House floor? 

A Facebook user claimed it did, captioning a May 27 video with this punctuationally stilted claim: "F.ight BREAKS as C.omer SHUTS UP Biden's lawyer with B0MBSHELL Zelensky's claim over Hunter."

But the video excerpt does not show Comer at all, much less anyone fighting. What it does show is nearly eight minutes from a House committee hearing about Twitter and its role in limiting the spread of an Oct. 14, 2020, New York Post story about Hunter Biden’s laptop computer.

The Facebook post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) 

On Feb. 8, several former Twitter executives testified before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Accountability about the New York Post story. The executives answered questions about blocking tweets about the article on the contents of Biden’s laptop. After Biden left it at a repair shop in Delaware in 2019, his laptop served as fodder for conspiracies and claims about its contents. During the hearing, the executives said it was a mistake to block users from sharing the story.

Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., was at the hearing — but he was not shown in the video clip. And despite the video’s caption, neither Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy nor a lawyer for Biden were shown in the footage.

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The former Twitter executives rejected Republican’s claims that they were pressured by Democrats to stifle the story.

In the clip shared to Facebook, Rep. William Timmons, R-S.C., said media and government organizations catered to "one side’s bidding," speaking of the Democrats. 

"We have a big-picture problem right now and we’re talking about Twitter specifically and Hunter Biden’s laptop but it’s not just that. It’s the general trend of the media, social media, the FBI, DOJ (Justice Department), doing one side’s bidding," Timmons said.

Timmons directed questions to Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s former chief legal officer, and Yoel Roth, the company’s former senior director and head of trust and safety, on the decision to censure tweets about the New York Post story. Gadde confirmed that she made the final decision, and Timmons askedRoth whether he disagreed with that decision. Roth said it wasn’t the only time that he disagreed with a decision at Twitter, but his answers were cut short as Timmons interjected. 

"I just want to say, the American people need to have valid information to process decisions. I would argue that denying the American people the substance of Hunter Biden’s laptop story … was wrong. You got photos and text messages of Hunter Biden committing multiple felonies, which was never actually — there were no criminal charges. Must be nice," Timmons said. 

There wasn’t a punch to be seen. The claim that this video showed a fight break out is Pants on Fire! 

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Fight breaks out in congressional hearing? That’s a fake claim

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