WASHINGTON, D.C.—House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) questioned Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on the anti-conservative bias many have reported experiencing on the platform, including the ‘shadow banning’ some Republican members of Congress have faced. He also demanded answers on why Twitter’s algorithm frequently targeted content touting mainstream conservative views as inflammatory, yet frequently fails to remove violent leftist content.
Highlights from the hearing:
On Twitter banning Marsha Blackburn’s campaign announcement video:
“What we’re concerned about is how Twitter in some ways, it looks like selectively, adversely affects conservatives. I want to go through a couple of examples.
“I would imagine you’re familiar with these. Our colleague, Marsha Blackburn, when she announced her campaign for the Senate, Twitter quickly banned her announcement advertisement because it had a pro-life message.
“She was the chair of the special select committee that a number of my colleagues both Republican and Democrat here were on and were looking into the sale of body parts. Twitter banned her because they said, ‘This statement was deemed an inflammatory statement that is likely to invoke a strong negative reaction.’
“Why was she banned for just stating a fact that Congress was actually investing because of the deep concern nationally when the scandal took place?”
“Was anyone held accountable for the mistake? There was a spokesperson here that said Twitter deems this inflammatory and at the same time the organization that was selling the body parts was not banned by Twitter. Our colleague who exposed the sale of body parts was banned by Twitter. Was your spokesperson held accountable for making these kinds of statements?”
On Vice’s findings members of Congress were being ‘shadow banned’:
“A liberal website, Vice, did a study of all members of Congress, all 535, and they identified only 3 that they felt were targeted in the shadow banning, Reps. Meadows, Jordan, and Gaetz.
“They did a study and found only three members of Congress were feeling biased against and all three happened to be conservatives. Can you see that’s a concern that a lot of us have, if there is a real bias in the algorithm as it was developed?
“Look, I’ve written algorithms before. If somebody wrote an algorithm with a bias against conservatives, I would hope you are trying to find out who those people are and if they are using their own personal viewpoints to discriminate against certain people. If it is your stated intention that you don’t want that discrimination to take place, I would hope that if there are people working for Twitter that hold those kinds of discriminatory viewpoints that you would want to hold them accountable so that it doesn’t happen again.”