|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 4, 2018
WASHINGTON (NRB) – Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s scheduled appearance before the House Energy and Commerce Committee tomorrow could be a “seminal moment” to address the problem of online censorship of Christian and conservative viewpoints, says Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, president & CEO of National Religious Broadcasters.
“The debate about the reality of viewpoint censorship of Christian and conservative viewpoints on Twitter and other Big Tech platforms is over; it’s happening, and it’s getting worse,” said Johnson. “Jack Dorsey faces a seminal moment at this hearing to acknowledge this problem and tell the American people what he will do to fix it at his company. We will be watching closely as Dorsey is pressed on censorship.”
In letters to Dorsey and other Silicon Valley executives last December, NRB called upon Big Tech to adopt a First Amendment standard, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, when considering content on its platforms. NRB has advocated this solution for a number of years. Also, NRB has sought to dialogue with Dorsey and other leaders of Silicon Valley – requests that have gone unanswered.
“Twitter could show the way for the rest of Big Tech if it would simply adopt a First Amendment standard for content on its platform,” Johnson said. “It’s long past time for these companies to take a robust and unapologetic stand for the free speech rights of their users. Their unwillingness to face-up to this problem and to protect the free speech rights of their users cannot be ignored forever by the people’s representatives in Congress.”
For more than eight years, NRB has documented a pattern of Christian and conservative content censored by Big Tech. Its Internet Freedom Watch initiative, launched last December to bring greater attention to this problem, shows examples of censorship in a timeline dating back to Apple’s 2010 discrimination against the late Chuck Colson’s Manhattan Declaration app. At the press conference launching Internet Freedom Watch last December, NRB called on Congress to hold hearings on the problem of online censorship.
Concerning the purpose of tomorrow’s hearing, “Twitter: Transparency and Accountability,” 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.”
Johnson added: “Chairman Walden is to be commended for holding hearings on this vital subject. We are grateful that he is leading his committee in such a way that takes seriously the concerns we and others have raised about this undeniable and growing problem.”
The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) is a nonpartisan, international association of Christian communicators whose member organizations represent millions of listeners, viewers, and readers. Our mission is to advance biblical truth, promote media excellence, and defend free speech. In addition to promoting standards of excellence, integrity, and accountability, NRB provides networking, educational, ministry, and fellowship opportunities for its members. Learn more at www.nrb.org.
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