Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, will testify next Wednesday before the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee in a hearing entitled, “Twitter: Transparency and Accountability.”
Announcing the hearing, Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) noted Twitter’s power as a platform and said, “When decisions about data and content are made using opaque processes, the American people are right to raise concerns. 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.”
NRB has documented a pattern of Christian and conservative content being censored by Silicon Valley titans. Its Internet Freedom Watch initiative (internetfreedomwatch.org) shows examples of censorship in a timeline dating back to Apple’s 2010 discrimination against the late Chuck Colson’s Manhattan Declaration app.
Attention to this problem has skyrocketed this year in Congress, particularly since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s hearings before House and Senate panels turned to this matter in April. Moreover, the President of the United States has repeatedly called out the tech titans for viewpoint censorship over the last two weeks.
In a letter included in the official record of a House Judiciary Committee hearing focused on viewpoint suppression, NRB President & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson said we were at a “pivotal moment.” He called on tech titans to do the right thing by “proactively and publicly declaring a robust and unapologetic stand for the free speech rights of their users.”
Johnson added, “We must determine if we are facing algorithmic or human discrimination and what is being done to correct this problem in either case.”
This hearing promises to feature difficult questions for Dorsey. For example, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), who sits on the committee, had tough words for Dorsey when he bowed to an anti-Chick-fil-A leftist mob online in June. “Absurd,” Scalise then tweeted. “Silicon Valley clearly still has a lot of work to do to address their bias against conservatives and people of faith.”
This week, Scalise said on the platform, “I’ll be demanding answers from @jack about this when he testifies before @HouseCommerce. It’s no coincidence that supporters of @realDonaldTrump are consistently suppressed by Twitter, and we’re long overdue for an honest explanation.”
Chairman Walden declared this week that Wednesday’s hearing will be focused on “transparency, accountability, and action.”
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: August 31, 2018