Republicans Accuse Twitter Of Anti-Conservative Bias

Twitter is being accused of being biased against conservative voices on the platform, by two Republican Congressmen.

The representatives in question are Jim Jordan and James Sensenbrenner, who wrote a letter to CEO Jack Dorsey about the alleged conservative bias, and demanded information about its reactions to two tweets by President Donald Trump.

Twitter angered some on the right in the United States, after it banned all political advertising worldwide in November 2019.

Twitter clampdown

A month before that Twitter had clarified the rules for banning world leaders using the micro-blogging platform to push their views, after calls for the suspension of US President Donald Trump’s Twitter account.

Twitter began clamping down on some of the controversial tweets from the US President in late May, when it placed warning fact-checking labels on a couple of his tweets for the first time.

It did this after President Trump made unsubstantiated claims that postal voting would lead to widespread fraud.

Twitter then also hid tweets from Trump and the official White House account when they tweeted that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”. It hid those tweets saying they were “glorifying violence”.

In response Trump signed an executive order against social networking firms.

Weeks after that Twitter also placed another warning notice on a tweet by President Trump.

“There will never be an ‘Autonomous Zone’ in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President. If they try they will be met with serious force!” the president said in his tweet.

But Twitter placed this tweet behind an abusive behaviour warning.

Dorsey letter

But now two Republican Representatives have waded into the debate and alleged that Twitter’s content moderation was not neutral and that it more often took aim at conservatives.

“Twitter’s discrimination against conservative voices is extremely alarming,” the letter was quoted by Reuters as saying. “These actions give rise to concerns that the company is systematically engaged in the disparate treatment of political speech and is deceiving users of the platform by not uniformly applying its terms of service,” they wrote.

The two men complained in particular about Twitter’s decision in late May to “fact check” Trump’s assertion linking mailed ballots with voter fraud.

They also objected to Twitter’s treatment of a Trump tweet saying he would use “serious force” to keep protesters from creating an autonomous zone in Washington, D.C.

The lawmakers also accused a Twitter official, whom they did not name, of using insulting language to talk about the president and a White House official.

A Twitter spokesman told Reuters it had received the letter, but declined to comment further.

The two representatives have reportedly asked Twitter to provide an accounting of content moderation decisions affecting Americans in the past year, as well as documents and communications regarding Twitter’s treatment of the Trump tweets.

Jack Dorsey has previously said he wanted to change the platform and move “away from outrage and mob behaviour and towards productive, healthy conversation.”

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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