Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday to discuss, among other things, his company’s decision to take the unprecedented step of censoring President Donald Trump, who uses the platform as his primary form of communication with the American people. Over the last year, the site has taken an increasingly heavy hand with Trump’s Twitter account, blocking his messages on voter fraud, putting “fact checks” on his tweets about the coronavirus, and even hiding some of his tweets behind censoring warning labels.
Meanwhile, noted Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Twitter has taken absolutely no action against Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei, who regularly uses the platform to send anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying messages.
Gardner began questioning Dorsey carefully, asking him if messages questioning the validity of the Holocaust would qualify as “misinformation” under Twitter’s current rules and policies. Dorsey allowed that those messages would indeed qualify.
“I appreciate your answers on this, but they surprise me on this and probably a lot of other Coloradans and Americans. After all, because Iran’s ayatollah has done exactly this: Questioning the holocaust. And yet his tweets remain unflagged on Twitter’s platform,” noted Gardner.
“I know we’ve established content moderation can have certain upsides like combating terrorism, but Twitter has chosen to approach content moderation from the standpoint of combating misinformation, as well. So it’s strange to me that you flag the tweets from the president but haven’t hidden the ayatollah’s tweets on Holocaust denial or calls to wipe Israel off the map,” Gardner continued.
Dorsey, appearing remotely from what we can only assume was a Taliban training camp, then tried to draw a distinction between the misinformation being spread by the Iranian leader and the kind of misinformation banned by Twitter, which is characterized by “manipulated media, public health – specifically COVID – and civic integrity and election interference and voter suppression.”
Dorsey acknowledged that Holocaust denial is “misleading,” it doesn’t fall under the current Twitter policies.
We would almost have more respect for the guy if he just said, Look, I hate Donald Trump, okay, and I want to make sure he doesn’t get reelected. I have to impress my buddies in Silicon Valley, and I have to keep my woke users satisfied. That’s just the way it is.
At least that would be honest. This idea that Trump somehow violates the letter of Twitter’s policies (which were, after all, constructed specifically to trap him) but the Ayatollah’s only violate the spirit? That’s just silliness, and it will only bring Twitter and the rest of the tech giants closer to having their regulatory classification changed in the near future.