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6 Mar, 2019 22:01

'We were way too aggressive': Twitter CEO admits conservatives were targeted

'We were way too aggressive': Twitter CEO admits conservatives were targeted

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey addressed claims his social media platform had targeted conservatives, admitted they had likely acted too swiftly in banning some right-wing users, and failed to explain their reasons.

In conversation with podcast host Joe Rogan, Dorsey and his chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde fielded questions and criticisms regarding widespread accusations of the company catering to liberal viewpoints.

“Probably our team having a lack of context into actually what’s happening” Dorsey explained. “We would fully admit we probably were way too aggressive when we first saw this as well, and made mistakes.”

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The controversy surrounding the social media giant came after conservatives and those expressing conservative viewpoints complained their accounts had been suspended for ideological reasons. Columbia University researcher Richard Hanania recently published an analysis showing that, of the 22 public figures banned by Twitter in the last few years, 21 were Trump supporters.

Conspiracy theory talk show host and Trump supporter Alex Jones (who, ironically, was on Rogan’s show just a few days ago) had his account suspended last year, alongside other figures like right wing activist Laura Loomer and GOP congressional candidate Jesse Kelly. In Kelly’s case, the company failed to explain the ban, even after Kelly’s account was later reinstated.

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“A lot of where we have failed is explaining the ‘why’ behind our policy and reasons,” Dorsey admitted, promising to look into alleged excesses.

As a case example of the kind of bias in question, Rogan and his fellow guest journalist Tim Pool brought up the company’s policy against “misgenderding,” a term for referring to or addressing Transgender people as something other than the gender they identify with. Canadian Feminist Megan Murphy was recent booted from Twitter over accusations she had “misgendered” her opponent in a debate.

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Gadde explained that the rule in question was only enforced if a specific person is repeatedly targeted in a way that could be considered harassment. Tim Pool was unconvinced.

“You’re biased, and you’re targeting specific individuals because your rules support this perspective,” he argued, suggesting that the rule itself reflected a liberal viewpoint.

“You have essentially created a protected class,” Rogan chimed in, highlighting how the company’s claims to political neutrality are undermined by the one-sided way it has enforced its policy against “targeted harassment.”

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