Twitter CEO says company isn’t biased, wants healthy debate

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Twitter’s CEO says the company is not biased against Republicans or Democrats and is working on ways to ensure that debate is healthier on its platform.

In prepared testimony released ahead of a House hearing Wednesday, Jack Dorsey says he wants to be clear about one thing: “Twitter does not use political ideology to make any decisions, whether related to ranking content on our service or how we enforce our rules.”

The testimony comes as some Republicans say conservatives have been censored on social media and have questioned the platform’s algorithms. Dorsey will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday afternoon on that subject, following a morning hearing in the Senate Intelligence Committee on Russian interference on social media.

Dorsey says in the House testimony that the company has continued to identify accounts that may be linked to a Russian internet agency that was indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller earlier this year. The indictment detailed an elaborate plot by Russian intelligence officers to disrupt the 2016 U.S. presidential election, charging several people associated with the Internet Research Agency with running a huge but hidden social media trolling campaign aimed in part at helping Republican Donald Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Dorsey says in the testimony that Twitter has so far suspended 3,843 accounts the company believes are linked to the agency and has seen recent activity.

“These accounts used false identities purporting to be Americans, and created personas focused on divisive social and political issues,” Dorsey said.

To address concerns about bias, Dorsey offered an explanation of how Twitter uses “behavioral signals,” such as the way accounts interact and behave on the service. Those signals can help weed out spam and abuse.

He said such behavioral analysis “does not consider in any way” political views or ideology.

Dorsey said the San Francisco-based company is also “committed to help increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation, and to hold ourselves publicly accountable towards progress.”


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