Jack Dorsey and other technology executives spoke Wednesday on their moderation practices. They appeared before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. The testimony comes following Twitter’s decision to suspend the New York Post from its platform.
The Post’s offense; sharing a story on Hunter Biden.
Dorsey said that Twitter specifically has a policy against three categories of misinformation. The first is media manipulation. The second is public health, which focuses specifically on COVID-19. The third is civic integrity, which includes election interference and voter suppression.
From the hearing
Dorsey told Sen. Cory Gardner, “We do not have policy or enforcement for any other types of misleading information that you’re mentioning… ”
Gardner questioned Dorsey: “So something denying the murder of millions of people or instigating violence against a country as a head of state is not categorically falling in any of those three misinformation or other categories Twitter has?”
Dorsey response is that Twitter does have policies which some of the Tweets Gardner mentions may fall into, repeating with a shake of his head, “but for misleading information we are focused on those three categories only.”
“So somebody denies the Holocaust has happened, it’s not misinformation,” asked Gardner.
“It’s misleading information, but we don’t have a policy against that type of misleading information,” Dorsey answered.
A Twitter spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation that Twitter’s mission “is to serve the public conversation and ensure the service is a place where people can express themselves safely… We strongly condemn antisemitism, and hateful conduct has absolutely no place on our service… [Twitter takes] action against content that glorifies or praises historical acts of violence and genocide, including the Holocaust…” citing Twitter’s Hateful Conduct Policy and glorification of violence policy.
Government monopoly position
Twitter is picking and choosing who and what they will censor and what they will support. That is their decision and that’s fine. But when they have a government-supported monopoly position in social media. Twitter censorship is a problem for political free speech.
They are a “platform” under the rules applying to them. In choosing to pick winners and losers, supporting one political position they should report that support and in-kind political donation. Twitter should play by the same rules the rest of us play by.
Yesterday before the Senate, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said under Twitter’s policy, Holocaust denials are not considered misinformation. According to Merriam Webster misinformation is incorrect or misleading information. So the question becomes what are all those dead bodies about? How do you explain Dachau, Buchenwald, Treblinka, Sobibor, Auschwitz, etc? What are all those films about the Holocaust if not media?
If the holocaust denials are not misinformation, then they must be true. Is that not what Mr. Dorsey and Twitter’s logic becomes? Then he clarifies the statement. It is misinformation but not against Twitter’s policy. So, it would seem assertions offending the company’s policy preferences, they block. It certainly appears the company is making up the rules to suit their political preferences.
Big Tech should not function as government-sponsored private censors
No one asked Mr. Dorsey if his policy is based on his politics. Regardless of truth. Their actions make Twitter an arbiter of truth and a censor. Mr. Dorsey and Twitter are seen to be exhibiting bias in their very political behavior. Their actions necessarily carry election implications. Twitter censorship is a problem for political free speech.
So, perhaps Mr. Dorsey and Twitter rationalize their holocaust denial position. But if we allow that, then certainly we should allow him to defend that assertion in court. Let’s get rid of the section 230 protection. That way we can actually resolve whether the Holocaust happened. He should either function as a platform or not. Either way, he should not get to function as a censor for a government sponsored monopoly.