After the Twitter accounts of several Republican lawmakers were “shadow banned,” illustrating widespread reports of the censorship of conservative voices, leaders of the GOP-led House called on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to testify in a hearing.
Shadow-banning, the practice of reducing the reach and visibility of tweets without informing the user, will be a topic along with outright banning of conservatives at a hearing of the House Energy & Commerce Committee on Sept. 5, ZeroHedge reported.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Twitter after discovering his account was being shadow banned.” And Reps. Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan and Devin Nunes — prominent leaders in the party’s conservative base — have reported the same.
Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., said in a statement that Twitter is “an incredibly powerful platform that can change the national conversation in the time it takes a tweet to go viral.”
“When decisions about data and content are made using opaque processes, the American people are right to raise concerns,” he said. “This committee intends to ask tough questions about how Twitter monitors and polices content, and we look forward to Mr. Dorsey being forthright and transparent regarding the complex processes behind the company’s algorithms and content judgement calls.”
Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, in a letter earlier this month, asked Walden to bring Dorsey before the committee “so that the American people can learn more about the filtering and censorship practices on his platform.”
McCarthy and other Republican leaders met with Facebook staffers in June to voice their concerns about the censorship of conservatives, ZeroHedge noted.
In late July, Twitter responded to the growing outrage with a statement to “set the record straight,” insisting it does not engage in shadow banning.
But it went on to describe how it does exactly that, ZeroHedge pointed out.
“People are asking us if we shadow ban,” the social-media company said. “We do not. But let’s start with, ‘what is shadow banning?”
Twitter defined it as “deliberately making someone’s content undiscoverable to everyone except the person who posted it, unbeknownst to the original poster.”
After reiterating it doesn’t shadow ban it added a caveat in parentheses explaining that reading some tweets may require going directly to the timeline of some users.
‘Unwritten rules from the top’
Project Veritas, known for its undercover video stings exposing bias and corruption, recently featured video of a Twitter engineer, Pranay Singh, admitting the majority of algorithms that filter out tweets are aimed at Republicans.
Twitter Content Review Agent Mo Nora is seen in the Project Veritas video explaining that Twitter doesn’t have an official written policy that targets conservative speech, but staffers follow “unwritten rules from the top.”
“A lot of unwritten rules, and being that we’re in San Francisco, we’re in California, very liberal, a very blue state. You had to be. … I mean as a company you can’t really say it because it would make you look bad, but behind closed doors are lots of rules.”
Nora said Twitter “was probably about 90 percent anti-Trump, maybe 99 percent anti-Trump.”