Twitter is in the hot seat on Capitol Hill on alleged bias
Rep. Leonard Lance speaks out about what he intends to ask Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on the treatment of the conservative content.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has built his company’s defense of the accusations of anti-conservative bias on its platform.
In prepared testimony to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce obtained by Fox News, Dorsey denies that the San Francisco-based company is biased. “Twitter does not use a political ideology to make decisions, or in connection with the arrangement of the content on our service and how we enforce our rules. We strongly believe in being neutral, and we strive to maintain our rules and impartial,” he says.
Dorsey continues: “We do not shadowban anyone based on political ideology. In fact, from a simple business perspective, in the service of the public conversation, Twitter is turned on to keep track of all votes on the platform.”
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The company’s campaign to encourage healthy conversations on its platform, with the support of academics are also faced with an accusation of anti-Trump bias.
Dorsey also the addresses of the algorithms that Twitter uses on its platform, noting that the company makes use of a range of “behavioral signals” to determine how the tweets will be organized and presented in users’ timelines. This applies, for example, for the analysis of how the accounts interact with one another, that can be used for the identification of spam and abuse.
“The behavioral ranking that Twitter is used is not of the opinion on which way the political vision or ideology. It focuses exclusively on the behaviour of all accounts,” says Dorsey. “We use thousands of behavioral signals in our behavior on the basis of ranking models this ensures that there is a signal, drives the ranking results and protects against malicious attempts to manipulate our classification systems.”
The Twitter chief will be on Capitol Hill Wednesday to testify before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce with respect to the company, the algorithms and content of the supervision. The social media giant recently took the heat for the so-called “shadow banning” of certain prominent Republicans, the limit of their visibility in the search results. Twitter blamed the problem on an algorithmic”.
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While Twitter says that the accuracy of the algorithm will improve over time, Dorsey recognizes that the algorithm-driven results, can sometimes be flawed.
“Despite the success that we have now with our use of algorithms to fight against abuse, manipulation, and bad faith actors, we recognize that a model be created without intentional bias can lead to biased results,” he says. “Bias can happen accidentally as a result of many factors, such as the quality of the data used for training our models. In addition to ensuring that we do not intentionally influence of the algorithms, it is our responsibility to understand, measure and reduce these accidental distortions. This is a very complex challenge in our industry, and algorithmic honesty and fair machine learning are active and a substantial research topics in the machine learning community.”
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The CEO also claims that conservative voices have a strong presence on Twitter. Last year, for example, there were 59.5 million tweets about Make America great Again. Citing Pew Research Center Data, Dorsey said that people that are on Twitter use #MAGA an average of 205,238 times per day from the Election Day, 2016 through May 1, 2018. #TCOT, or top conservatives on Twitter, was one of the platform top hashtags in 2017, with 8.4 million tweets last year. #CPAC and #CPAC2018 been tweeted 1.2 million times in a four-day period during the Conservation Political Action Committee (CPAC) conference earlier this year, Dorsey added.
In addition, the testimony provides some insight into the legislators of the use of the social media platform.
Twitter’s data scientists analyzed the tweets sent by all the members of the House and the Senate, which Twitter over a period of 30 days from July 23, 2018 to Aug. 13, 2018. Democratic members sent 10,272 tweets and the Republican members sent 7,981 tweets in that time. “Democrats, on average, more followers per account, and more active followers,” says Dorsey. “As a result, Democratic members in the total of more impressions or views than the Republicans.”
In addition to the witnesses before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Dorsey will also testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee Wednesday morning. Also, witnesses are Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Kent Walker, Google’s senior vice president for global affairs. Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai refused to testify on the seat, sparks criticism from senators of both parties.
The Twitter CEO, recently told Fox News Radio that he understands why many conservatives are suspicious of the large tech companies, given the liberal-leaning culture of Silicon Valley. The CEO, however, says that his company is committed to building a culture that includes all points of view.
Fox News’ Andrew O ‘ Reilly and the Associated Press contributed to this article.
Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers