GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has called on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to testify in front of Congress on the topic of shadowbanning and censorship on social media.
GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy sent a letter to Greg Walden, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in which McCarthy requested that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey be called to testify before the committee. This follows recent reports that Twitter was engaging in shadowbanning, a method of limiting a Twitter account’s reach by a range of actions, including preventing a user’s followers from seeing tweets from their account. This practice has appeared to disproportionately affect conservatives on the platform.
Speaking to Breitbart News exclusively, McCarthy said: “It is impossible to ignore the fact that only one party is being slammed by this censorship, over and over again,” said McCarthy. “When only one side is doing the talking, you don’t call it a dialogue. You call it a lecture.”
Twitter denied the allegations of shadow banning stating: “For the most part, we believe the issue had more to do with how other people were interacting with these representatives’ accounts than the accounts themselves,” in a blog post. However, the blog post also attempted to redefine what is meant by the term “shadow banning” stating: “We do not shadow ban. You are always able to see the tweets from accounts you follow (although you may have to do more work to find them, like go directly to their profile). And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology.”
In this line of reasoning, Twitter attempted to redefine what shadowbanning means by claiming that they are not outright censoring accounts and that a user can still see tweets from a specific account if they search out that account’s profile. No one has claimed that shadowbanning means a user’s tweets are censored entirely from the platform — shadowbanning is exactly what Twitter has described in its post. Suppressing tweets from a specific account so that followers must search out the account profile in order to see its content. Twitter’s attempt to define shadowbanning in the same way popular forums site Reddit has is merely dancing around the issue.
Dorsey stated in a recent interview that he understands why conservatives are distrustful of Silicon Valley tech companies stating:“I do understand the concern. It is something that we’re aware of… We have folks that are at various points in the political spectrum and they don’t feel comfortable today bringing up certain issues or their viewpoints on certain issues. And I don’t believe that is acceptable.”
In his letter to Greg Walden, Kevin McCarthy stated:
The Energy and Commerce Committee has been deeply engaged in tackling the very real challenges we are all facing?highlighted by the hearing with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. But there is more work to be done. Together we can continue to ask the tough questions, constructively engage, and map out a strategy to rebuild trust and accountability.
In that vein, I am writing to request the Energy and Commerce Committee hold a public hearing this fall with testimony from the companies that underpin our information-driven society. In particular, I would like to request a hearing with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey so that the American people can learn more about the filtering and censorship practices on his platform.
As reliance on technology increases, so too must our commitment to transparency and oversight. Moreover, we have a responsibility to ensure America?s tech future is built upon a foundation of rock and not sand. I am con?dent the House of Representatives can play a constructive role in this endeavor.
Read McCarthy’s letter in full below: