Twitter CEO Dorsey To Appear Before House Committee
The concerns over a social media bias that “shadow bans” and lowers reach on conservative content are growing among conservative citizens, publishers, and government officials. Now, a U.S. House committee plans to call upon Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, along with a number of other tech influencers, to go before its committee and answer questions regarding the alleged censoring activity.
Dorsey is expected to give further details regarding Twitter’s “algorithms and content judgment calls” in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
CONFIRMED: Twitter CEO @jack Dorsey will testify September 5 before E&C on the company’s algorithms and content monitoring.
— Energy and Commerce (@HouseCommerce) August 24, 2018
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California said that Dorsey’s appearance is a result of U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Oregon’s organization with Dorsey over the matter.
McCarthy has been an outspoken voice against big tech censorship.
“One-sided conversations are an affront to the public mission that serves as the foundation for these social media platforms – including Twitter,” McCarthy said in a formal statement. “That is why I worked with Chairman Greg Walden and requested Jack Dorsey to testify to Congress and talk with the American people about filtering practices on Twitter.”
“We all agree that transparency is the only way to fully restore Americans’ trust in these important public platforms.”
Make no mistake about it, the situation with liberal bias and conservative censorship is bad. Conservative personalities often disappear from Twitter’s search results and conservative-oriented content often gets little reach on Facebook.
Our site consistently suffers due to Facebook’s clear bias towards liberal content.
That said, a “government solution” is likely to worsen the situation.
Neither Twitter nor Facebook publically admit that they bury content they disagree with. Instead, they allow their algorithms to subvert the content in ways that are impractical to realize in a formal way. In other words, you can’t prove that your content wasn’t “uninteresting” in a way that caused people to reject reading it as opposed to Facebook just not showing it in the feeds of your followers.
McCarthy is now asking for transparency into these big tech algorithms.
But where would that lead?
The government being in control of an informational algorithm is likely just as tragic, or even more tragic, than what we have now. Both sides of the aisle have a history of vile censorship acts. While liberals might be worse now, give it time and that will change (because it always does).
What needs to happen is a push for competition.
But McCarthy never mentions competition, he only states transparency as a solution.
“..we all agree that transparency is the only way to fully restore Americans’ trust in these important public platforms”
Competition, potentially by way of breaking up the tech giants, would be the only real way to restore our free speech. Allowing yet another intrusive party to manage our communications and messaging is peppering an awful situation with more awful.
Many people don’t truly understand how difficult it is to compete with these tech giants on a social media level. But as it stands, it is nearly impossible for a startup or even a well-funded platform to compete with Facebook or Twitter.
Why? For starters, look no further than Apple.
Apple, the largest maker of smartphone devices in the world, is the gatekeeper for social media apps.
Facebook, Google, and Twitter are embedded in the iPhone’s IOS. The fact is, nearly 80% of web traffic is now derived from a mobile device.
The Apple store will reject an App based on “hate content.”
It is impossible to have a fully-uncensored App that doesn’t allow speech that makes us uncomfortable. This is in no way saying that illegal content has any place on a social media platform, however, an “anti-white group” or a “KKK group” isn’t illegal. That’s the important distinguishment.
Look no further than Gab for an example. Gab is a “free speech social network” that’s been banned by Apple. Apple rejected Gab claiming that the social media App “includes pornographic content.” While this may be true, the content was censored by default of the App’s functionality. Both Reddit and Tumblr are known to have adult-oriented content on their platforms and both have thriving IOS Apps. Twitter notoriously allows porn stars to have profiles on their network.
Gab was more likely rejected for allowing pro-Trump content.
Competition is more likely to thrive if Apple is regulated, or more smartphone competition hits the markets.
Facebook, Apple, Google, and Twitter are giants in terms of holding our data. For many people, Facebook and Google are their main logins to various membership websites.
In other words, Facebook is not just innately tied into Apple’s IOS, but also other website experiences that offer signup forms and comments.
The lack of competition has led to an unprecedented monopoly that now controls are most modern method of communications.
And now, the government has announced that it wants a piece of the censorship pie. Make no mistake about it, allowing the government to manage “free speech” is going to be a worse result than what already exist.
Photo by b_d_solis
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.