Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) called out Twitter over its political censorship in questions to a company spokesman during a hearing of the House Veterans Affairs Committee yesterday.
Rep. Banks made his comments during a wider discussion about veterans being targeted by scammers on social media. The congressman asked Twitter why so little progress had been made on the issue even while the company devotes more and more resources to cracking down on lawful political speech.
“Isn’t it quite ironic that Twitter can argue in good faith that their Section 230 protections can be retained because it does not have the resources or ability to root out illicit material such as scams targeting veterans on its platform, when the same platform devotes considerable resources and attention to stomping out lawful political speech?” asked the congressman.
Twitter’s spokesman, public policy manager Kevin Kane, responded by denying that the company is failing to protect veterans from online scams.
“We have a clear policy addressing scams on our platform, and since January 1 of this year, we’ve suspended 335,000 accounts for engaging in scamming behavior, not just for the veteran’s community but for [the whole] community, because we have to take a very broad approach in terms of how we combat these threats, which we take seriously.”
Kane went on to deny that Twitter engages in any political bias.
“Twitter’s purpose is to serve the entire public conversation, not just for one political party but for the entire globe. One of the things I’m most proud of in terms of working at Twitter is we embrace diversity and diverse viewpoints… we all make decisions in the interest of serving the public conversation and not particular ideal.”
Kane did not address the mounting evidence of Twitter’s uneven enforcement of its terms of service, which seems to affect conservatives and Republicans far more than those on the left. Between May 2015 and February 2019, monthly Twitter suspensions of prominent political persons skyrocketed by nine times, according to research conducted by Columbia University’s Richard Hanania.
The same study found that prominent conservatives were at least four times more likely than liberal persons to be found in violation of Twitter’s applied terms of service and banned.
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Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.