During his hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Wednesday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey faced a wide spectrum of questioning from conservatives. He was pressed hard on several different points. Breitbart News has gathered together six of our favorite exchanges.
1) Jack Dorsey admits Twitter is part of the “public square”
Dorsey repeatedly described Twitter’s digital platform as part of the “public square” while advocating for censorship of content protected by the First Amendment.
Breitbart News’s Allum Bokhari wrote: “The Twitter CEO’s wording is significant — according to U.S. law, speech and expression in the public square are protected by the First Amendment, regardless of whether the public squares are under private ownership.”
Dorsey frequently describes what he says is Twitter’s commitment to “conversational health,” taking it upon himself to define the parameters of acceptable speech and expression in a narrower sense than the First Amendment’s limits on lawful speech and expression.
2) Rep. Jeff Duncan exposes bias in Twitter’s “suggested follows” for new accounts
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) explained that when one of his staffers opened a brand new account with Twitter, the platform suggested the new account follow leftist accounts without exception.
Rep. Duncan pressed Dorsey, saying: “All left-leaning political types, that’s all she got as suggested for you to follow. Forget the fact that there aren’t any republicans or conservatives on that list — no singers? No actors? No athletes? No celebrities? She’s a twenty-something female staffer, didn’t even get Taylor Swift, Chris Pratt, Cristiano Ronaldo or Kim Kardashian. All she got was the suggestions that I had on the screen.”
The best response Dorsey could muster was to say, ” Yeah, well we do have a lot more work to do in terms of our on-boarding and obviously, you’re pointing out some weaknesses in our signals that we use to craft those selections.”
3) Rep. Markwayne Mullin reads Sarah Jeong’s anti-white tweets to Jack Dorsey
Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) framed Twitter’s enforcement of its “hate speech” restrictions as arbitrary and hypocritical by highlighting tweets by New York Times columnist Sarah Jeong.
Mullin read the following tweets from Jeong, whose Twitter account is “verified” with a blue checkmark:
Dumbass fucking white people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants
— sarah jeong (@sarahjeong) November 29, 2014
the science is indisputable pic.twitter.com/th39vKR40g
— sarah jeong (@sarahjeong) December 24, 2014
Are white people genetically predisposed to burn faster in the sun, thus logically being only fit to live underground like groveling goblins
— sarah jeong (@sarahjeong) December 24, 2014
oh man it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men
— sarah jeong (@sarahjeong) July 24, 2014
Breitbart News’ Allum Bokhari wrote: “Rep. Mullin noted that when conservative activist Candace Owens swapped out ‘white’ for another group, she received a temporary suspension from Twitter, despite the fact that her tweets were intended to highlight the racism in Jeong’s.”
4) Dorsey wants to move Twitter “out of San Francisco”
When pressed by Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) about promoting ideological diversity at Twitter, something notably lacking at Silicon Valley, Jack admitted the company would have to move out of San Francisco.
Dorsey said, “We recognize that we need to decentralize our workforce out of San Francisco. Not everyone wants to be in San Francisco, and not everyone wants to work in San Francisco, and not everyone can even come close to afford living in San Francisco, and it’s something that’s not fair, so we’re considering ways of how we hire more broadly across every geography across this country and also around the world.”
5) Dorsey says Twitter algorithms “were unfairly filtering 600,000 accounts”
Dorsey said Twitter inadvertently censored 600,000 profiles due to flawed algorithms. The error, he explained, was rooted in minimizing visibility of accounts deemed to have undesirable followers.
In the spirit of accountability and transparency: recently we failed our intended impartiality. Our algorithms were unfairly filtering 600,000 accounts, including some members of Congress, from our search auto-complete and latest results. We fixed it. But how did it happen? Our technology was using a decision making criteria that considers the behavior of people following these accounts. We decided that wasn’t fair, and corrected. We‘ll always improve our technology and algorithms to drive healthier usage, and measure the impartiality of outcomes.
Breitbart News’s Charlie Nash wrote: “Dorsey confirmed that 600,000 accounts were shadowbanned during his hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday. … Several Breitbart News employees were affected by the filtering, along with other conservative figures, before Twitter reversed the censorship.”
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