Twitter CEO Admits It: Yeah, We’re a Bunch of Lefties
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is trying to do some damage control after a month in which his company has come under sharp scrutiny for how it betrays the code of free speech it claims to uphold.
In recent weeks, journalists have exposed the way Twitter has shadowbanned conservatives, removed prominent Republicans from the instant search results, and made other moves that seem to target only one side of the political spectrum. Dorsey capped things off last week by handing Infowars founder Alex Jones a one-week suspension – a move that, while milder than the rest of the tech community’s reaction to Jones, did little to allay suspicions about Twitter’s biased policies.
In an interview with CNN this weekend, Dorsey came right out and admitted that his platform was run by a bunch of leftists, but he denied that the overwhelming political leanings of the staff had any bearing on the policies of the site.
“The real question behind the question is are we doing something according to political ideology or viewpoint, and we are not, period,” Dorsey insisted. “We do not look at content with regards to political viewpoint or ideology. We look at behavior.”
But Dorsey said that people who suspect that Twitter is run by a cabal of liberals…well, they’re not really too far off the mark.
“We need to constantly show that we are not adding our own bias, which I fully admit is left – is more left-leaning – and I think it’s important to articulate our bias and to share it with people so that people understand us, but we need to remove all bias from how we act and our policies and our enforcement,” Dorsey said.
All of this sounds really good in theory, but until we stop getting weekly reports about how Twitter has yet again done something that seems to affect only conservatives and right-leaning figures on the site, it’s impossible to buy into the spin. By being up front about the site’s political biases, Dorsey is hoping to capture some psychological goodwill from the conservative community. Oh hey, look, this guy’s being really forthright and honest. If he says he’s not letting his own liberal leanings affect the content, well by golly, I trust him!
Don’t get us wrong; we would be willing to extend Dorsey the benefit of the doubt. It is, after all, no great secret that Silicon Valley is run by the left. But there have been too many examples of betrayal. Too many instances of Twitter picking out conservatives for “behavior” issues and too few of them finding problems on the left. Giving someone the benefit of the doubt is a good thing; being blindly naïve about the reality of the situation is not. Until Twitter can run out a months-long track record of fairness, inclusion, and commitment to open debate, they should (and will) remain under sharp scrutiny by conservatives.