Republican Kevin McCarthy expressed outrage on Twitter when a tweet from Laura Ingraham showed the warning, “This tweet is not available because it includes potentially sensitive content.”
“Another day, another example of conservatives being censored on social media,” he tweeted. “@jack easy fix: explain to Congress what is going on. #StopTheBias cc @IngrahamAngle.”
It turns out calling out Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was unnecessary.
Twitter users were quick to point out his error.
“Congressman, it’s your settings,” said one polite Twitter user. “Go into ‘settings and privacy’ and uncheck this box so you can see these kinds of tweets.”
The tweet included a screenshot of Twitter’s safety settings and the box to uncheck the setting “hide sensitive content.”
Some Twitter users were less kind.
“Get an intern to check your settings Congressman,” tweeted one user.
“Or a 3rd grader,” responded another user.
“Bless your heart,” said another tweet.
This sentiment is one that is often expressed by conservatives, according to Salon. Many conservatives in the media have accused Twitter of implementing “shadow bans,” including President Donald Trump.
“Twitter ‘SHADOW BANNING’ prominent Republicans,” he tweeted in July. “Not good. We will look into this discriminatory and illegal practice at once! Many complaints.”
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) August 17, 2018
According to USA Today, a shadow ban is a ban that allows the user to access the social media platform normally. The user’s posts will not be seen by others, though, and will stop showing up in search results.
Vice reported in late July that Twitter appeared to be shadow banning conservatives. Republican lawmakers were not showing up in autocomplete search results on the Twitter platform.
Twitter quickly corrected the error, which Vice also reported.
Brad Parscale, President Trump’s campaign manager for his 2020 campaign, and Republican National Committee Chairperson Ronna McDaniel wrote to Twitter and Facebook in May out of concern that conservative voices were being suppressed on social media, according to Vice.
“We are alarmed by numerous allegations that Facebook has blocked content from conservative journalists and groups,” they wrote. “And Twitter has hidden such content from conservative users’ followers.”
The Salon report speculates that McCarthy may have embraced the conspiracy in an effort to bolster his public profile. McCarthy is hoping to be Speaker of the House after current speaker Paul Ryan retires next year.
McCarthy was turned down for Speaker of the House in 2015 because he was viewed as “too moderate” due to opposing a government shutdown in 2013.
Yes, @jack. Go to Congress and show them all how to change their own twitter settings. That would be very helpful.
— Wendy Chill (@WendyAChill) August 19, 2018
Regardless of the motivation McCarthy had for publicly calling out Twitter, it has provided Twitter users with entertainment.
“Yes, @jack,” replied one user to McCarthy’s tweet. “Go to Congress and show them all how to change their own twitter settings. That would be very helpful.”