Saturday, August 4, 2018

Lawmaker Wants To Probe Twitter Filtering Practices

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) sent a letter to the chairman of the House Commerce Committee calling for Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to testify on the company's filtering practices as top conservatives accuse the platform of silencing right-wing voices.

According to The Hill, Twitter denies that it's engaged in "shadow-banning" of conservatives, a process that makes certain accounts harder for users to come across. When certain GOP accounts became inaccessible through the platform's search engine last week, Twitter faced accusations that it's censoring Republicans.

The company maintains that the incident was a glitch. But the explanation is unlikely to satisfy GOP lawmakers like McCarthy who are hoping to capitalize on conservatives' anxieties about socially liberal Silicon Valley.

"Any solution to this problem must start with accountability from companies like Twitter, whose platforms have enormous potential to impact the national conversation -- and unfortunately, enormous potential for abuse," McCarthy wrote in the letter to Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), which was first reported by Axios.

"In particular, I would like to request a hearing with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey so that the American people can learn more about the filtering and censorship practices on his platform," he continued.

Twitter declined to comment on the letter. In a blog post last week, though, the company said that the scope of the issue was confined to auto-populating search terms and that Democratic politicians were also affected.

"Hundreds of thousands of accounts were impacted by this issue," the post reads. "This impact was not limited to a certain political affiliation or geography. And, to be clear, these accounts were only impacted within search auto-suggestions-- they still appeared in search results.

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