Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Jack Dorsey Met With American Conservative Leaders and Media Personalities to Hear Their Complaints About Alleged Bias

Tony Romm, Washington Post:

In response, the Twitter executive heard an earful from conservatives gathered at the table, who scoffed at the fact that Dorsey runs a platform that’s supposed to be neutral even though he’s tweeted about issues like immigration, gay rights and national politics. They also told Dorsey that the tech industry’s efforts to improve diversity — after years of criticism for maintaining a largely white, male workforce — should focus on hiring engineers with more diverse political viewpoints as well, according to those who dined with him in D.C.

Hadas Gold:

What I find fascinating about the several meet-ups social media has had w/ conservatives, is the feeling that there’s an inherent need for these platforms to be unbiased and run by unbiased folks… as though they’re a public utility

Ashley Feinberg:

Meanwhile I’ve talked to like a dozen people over the past week who have tried to get tweets with their addresses and phone numbers removed as Twitter keeps telling them it’s not a violation […]

Are the CEOs of Twitter and Facebook not supposed to have their own viewpoint? That’s a bizarre notion.

Let’s look at this from a free market perspective. If Twitter truly were censoring conservatives — they’re not, but let’s pretend that there’s a movement at Twitter targeting conservative voices for a moment — this should just sort itself out, right? Dorsey has heard the complaints of Grover Norquist, Sean Hannity, and Ted Cruz, and will likely make no changes: the company has been growing steadily for a couple of years, so this (completely fictional) conservative censorship project seems to be paying off. Conservatives could continue to suffer on Twitter, or they could build a competitor that is either conservative-focused or truly neutral. Maybe that competitor will be a rousing success amongst conservatives, or the public at large; maybe it won’t. Either way, that’s the free market making the decision, right?

In the real world, though, Dorsey and other Twitter executives have repeatedly insisted that they are not banning or silencing users for expressing conservative viewpoints. They have been trying to combat harassment and that has resulted in the moderation of users of different political orientations — including those who tweeted a news story purportedly containing Stephen Miller’s cellphone number.

This is an entirely silly, bad faith line of argument. If Dorsey needs to meet with American conservatives and take seriously their complaints about being the victims of silencing — the Republican President has used Twitter to threaten a congressperson, while conservatives also control Congress and, soon, the Supreme Court — then that’s his game to play. But it isn’t worth pretending it isn’t horseshit.

Update: Max Read, New York:

That either Dorsey or Zuckerberg might be taking these complaints seriously is troubling. What’s galling is not the staleness of the charges — reporters are too liberal to neutrally cover politics! Editors suppress conservative stories! Newspaper coverage is biased against conservatives! — but the context in which they arrive. The conservative movement has found itself with complete control of the federal government and in power in a majority of states across the country — and it’s taken that power thanks in a large part to social media like Twitter and Facebook.