Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, said his company had improperly screened an anti-abortion message, but that the larger claim that the platform “shadow-bans” conservatives was not politically motivated and has been corrected. Shadow-banning refers to the blocking of users of online communities in ways that they are unaware of being blocked.
Yahoo! News reports Dorsey said Twitter shouldn’t have blocked Republican congresswoman Marsha Blackburn last fall when she posted video ads that promoted her anti-abortion activism. “That was a mistake, and we do apologize.”
When the ad was banned, a Twitter employee told Blackburn’s campaign consultants that the line in the video referring to the “sale of baby body parts” had been deemed an inflammatory statement that was likely to evoke a strong negative reaction. The employee explained if that line and other language referring to Planned Parenthood was removed, then she could keep using Twitter to promote the ad.
At a House hearing about the issue of shadow banning, Dorsey spoke at length about how three Republican House members had been singled out for what some considered to be shadow-banning. The congressmen’s names weren’t showing up due to an issue in Twitter’s search algorithm. When Dorsey was asked if anyone at Twitter had been held accountable he didn’t answer.
Twitter says it was never their intention to filter search results based on political affiliation and that they only filtered out the accounts of followers who were violating the terms of service. The company believes about 600,000 accounts were affected and they determined that wasn’t fair so they decided to correct it.
Twitter isn’t the only company that has been accused of censoring conservatives. According to the Inquisitr, President Trump recently made headlines when he posted to Twitter saying that he believed Google was rigging its search algorithm to show only negative news stories about him.
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones showed up and shouted at Senator Marco Rubio about how Facebook and YouTube had banned him from their platforms last month. He feels his ban is similar to the way the Chinese government censors information. He also shouted about Twitter’s shadow-banning, but it’s important to note that unlike several other social media sites, Twitter has not yet banned Jones.
The hearing with Dorsey avoided histrionics and the CEO maintained a humble and polite manner. Even when lawmakers were frustrated with Twitter’s policies they complimented him on his willingness to accept responsibility for the company’s shortcomings.