Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Republicans Call on Jack Dorsey to Testify During Monday’s Antitrust Hearing

Lauren Feiner, CNBC:

But Twitter is much smaller than the four other companies already set to testify, making an antitrust argument against the company more challenging. Though size is not necessarily an indication of anticompetitive behavior in the U.S., Twitter holds far less of the social media market than Facebook. Last quarter, Twitter reported 166 million monetizable daily active users (mDAUs). Though it says that metric is not comparable to those for other platforms, it’s far below the 1.73 billion daily active users (DAUs) Facebook reported last quarter.

Still, last week’s hack demonstrated the amount of power Twitter wields by virtue of its elite userbase comprised of journalists, politicians and CEOs. Hackers were able to post fake messages soliciting cryptocurrency from the accounts of prominent people including former Vice President Joe Biden, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Conservatives, including [Jim Jordan], have argued that Twitter and other tech companies censor their voices through biased algorithms and inconsistent application of policies, which Twitter has denied. The company has recently become even more of a focus of conservative ire after it placed fact-check and warning labels over tweets by President Donald Trump it claimed had violated its policies. Shortly after, Trump announced an executive order calling for federal agencies to consider new rules around the legal shield that protects online platforms from liability for their moderation practices and users’ posts.

Jordan is the guy that John Boehner called, in a 2017 Politico interview, a “legislative terrorist” and an “asshole”. His behaviour since then has worsened, and this is entirely performative.

Unlike the rest of the companies called to this hearing, all of which are fighting antitrust investigations around the world, Twitter was praised by Margrethe Vestager for its moderation. There is a vast difference between moderation and censorship, and it is a myth that social media companies — Twitter included — have a unique inclination to ban or stifle conservative voices.

By the way, nobody has called any of the major American telecom companies to these hearings despite their long history of blatant anticompetitive practices. This is unsurprising.