Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey talks about his "left-leaning" bias
With US President Donald Trump repeatedly alleging that Twitter "shadow bans" conservative voices, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has responded, saying that he himself and several Twitter employees have a "left-leaning" bias, but that doesn't affect Twitter's policy. Dorsey's comments came in an interview with CNN on Saturday, amid a growing debate over how tech companies influence public discourse. Here's what Dorsey had to say.
"We do not look at content with regards to political viewpoint or ideology," @Jack told me. But he knows some people do not believe him. "I think we need to constantly show that we are not adding our own bias, which I fully admit is left, is more left-leaning," he says... pic.twitter.com/1i8jJunhfz— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) August 18, 2018
"We need to constantly show that we are not adding our own bias, which I fully admit is...more left-leaning," said Dorsey, adding that there's a requirement "to remove all bias from how we act and our policies and our enforcement." "I think it's important to articulate our own bias and to share it with people so that people understand us," added the Twitter CEO.
Having admitted his own bias, Dorsey promptly clarified that it doesn't influence Twitter's policy. "The real question is, 'Are we doing something according to political ideology or view points?' And we are not. Period. We do not look at content with regards to political viewpoint or ideology. We look at behavior," said Dorsey, explaining how they go about 'shadow banning' users.
Last month, Trump alleged that Twitter was "SHADOW BANNING" prominent Republicans on its platform, implying that social media companies were "totally discriminating" against Republicans. Since then, Trump has been on a rant against what he sees as a strong bias against conservative voices, and has pledged that censorship of conservative voices will not be tolerated under his administration.
Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices. Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won’t let that happen. They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others.......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 18, 2018
Trump's protest against the alleged anti-conservative bias came after tech companies like Apple, Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify took aggressive steps against right-wing talk show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for violating their hate speech policies. Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify removed Jones from their platforms, and Apple followed suit by removing a majority of Jones' podcasts from iTunes and its podcast apps.
Taking a cue from Apple, Facebook and the like, Twitter also recently suspended Jones' account for a week after he issued a rallying call for his supporters to get their "battle rifles" ready against anti-fascists and the mainstream media. Jones' comments were made on his show, which was published on Twitter's video-streaming service, Periscope. Twitter said that Jones' comments had violated its anti-hate speech policy.