Twitter not based on ‘political ideology,’ CEO tells lawmakers

05 September, 2018, 20:16 | Author: Bennie Parsons
  • Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey reportedly stepped in to save Alex Jones Richard Spencer from bans

Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter Inc.

"Our adversaries are determined, creative, and well-funded".

As a social media platform, Twitter is caught in a dilemma: either it gets flak for hate content remaining on the service, or it gets criticized for removing the content - likely as a perceived affront to free speech or as a show of what US President Donald Trump would call political bias.

In a statement, Twitter denied Dorsey was involved in either decision. That scrutiny has led to additional criticism over the companies' respect for user privacy and whether conservatives are being censored - frustrations that are particularly heightened ahead of the midterms.

"The companies have made progress, the government has made progress, but the bad guys have made progress as well", said Virginia Sen.

Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-V.A.) echoed that sentiment.

This will be the first time Sandberg has publicly faced significant questioning about Facebook's role in the 2016 election.


"Twitter does not use political ideology to make any decisions, whether related to ranking content on our service or how we enforce our rules", Dorsey said in prepared remarks to a congressional hearing with United States technology giants.

Trump faulted Twitter on July 26, without citing any evidence, for limiting the visibility of prominent Republicans through a practice known as shadow banning. Twitter denies that is happening.

Absent from the Senate's questioning was Google. Google, however, risks having an empty chair at the hearing after cofounder Larry Page declined to appear. The committee rejected that offer.

A year ago, big technology companies disclosed that Russian-backed actors had manipulated their platforms in hopes of swaying the election. While Burr said he believes Facebook and Twitter do understand the problem, it took both companies several months past year to acknowledge they had been manipulated.

"We were too slow to spot this and too slow to act", Sandberg will say. He says Twitter has so far suspended 3,843 accounts the company believes are linked to the agency, and has seen recent activity.

The afternoon hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Committee will feature only Dorsey in a hearing focused on bias and the platform's algorithms.

Dorsey won't be the only tech executive in the hot seat, however.

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