Sep 5, 2018 - Technology

Twitter chief Dorsey pressed over liberal bias claims

Jack Dorsey, looking down with a solemn expression on his face

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey faced skeptical questions at a Wednesday House hearing convened because of Republican allegations of an anti-conservative bias on the platform.

Why it matters: President Trump has seized on the concerns of anti-conservative censorship over the last week — publicly blasting web companies — despite a lack of evidence of platforms intentionally build bias into their systems.

What they're saying:

  • Republicans raised concerns about a recent instance in which certain conservatives were not included in the auto-fill feature of Twitter's search. "Out of the more than 300 million active Twitter users, why did this only happen to certain accounts?” asked House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden.

Democrats pushed back on the bias allegations, with top committee Democrat Rep. Frank Pallone saying that Republicans were "trying to rally their base by fabricating a problem that simply does not exist."

  • Pallone also questioned whether the platform is taking the right measures to make sure that celebrities and politicians, like Trump, face the same rules as other individuals.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle pushed Dorsey on what he's doing to get rid of harassment online. "I understand there are algorithms, I understand that there have to be checks and balances, but really it shouldn’t take hours for something that's that egregious to come down," said Republican Rep. Michael Burgess of a recent doctored image that of a daughter of the late Sen. John McCain.

But but but: Even during tense moments of questioning, the hearing has lacked the fireworks of some earlier Capitol Hill conversations about alleged bias on social media, save for when a protestor briefly disrupted the proceedings.

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