Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is still trying to convince conservatives that his service treats them fairly.
Speaking to CNN’s Brian Stelter in an interview that aired Saturday, Twitter’s top executive again reiterated that the social media company does not make content decisions on the basis of political views, even though Twitter itself has a “more left-leaning” bias.
“But the real question behind the question is, are we doing something according to political ideology or viewpoints? And we are not. Period,” Dorsey said in response to a question about “shadow bans,” Twitter’s practice of using algorithms to limit the visibility of certain tweets. “We do not look at content with regards to political viewpoints or ideology, we look at behavior.”
“We need to constantly show that we are not adding our own bias, which I fully admit is… more left-leaning,” Dorsey added. “But we need to remove all bias from how we act and our policies and our enforcement.”
“We do not look at content with regards to political viewpoint or ideology,” @Jack told me. But he knows some people do not believe him. “I think we need to constantly show that we are not adding our own bias, which I fully admit is left, is more left-leaning,” he says… pic.twitter.com/1i8jJunhfz
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) August 18, 2018
The interview highlights just how thorny these questions have become for Twitter. Dorsey is in the midst of a media blitz, which has included interviews with Sean Hannity and other Fox News hosts. He has also reportedly held quiet meetings with conservative leaders, like Ted Cruz.
Each time, the CEO faces questions about Twitter’s treatment of conservatives, as well as the network’s alleged “shadow bans.”
What Dorsey and Twitter say is a necessary step to limit the visibility of toxic behavior has become a sort of rallying cry for members of the far-right, who believe the social media company is censoring conservatives with whom it disagrees.
Dorsey’s latest comments appeared to add fuel to those theories, as many Twitter users latched onto his comments about Twitter’s “left-leaning bias” as proof there is in fact a widespread effort to censor conservatives.
The Glenn Beck-backed conservative site The Blaze quickly labeled it a “stunning admission,” while Twitter users, some of whom have been adding the ❌ emoji to their Twitter names in order to indicate their supposed shadow ban status, quickly piled on.
But Dorsey said it was necessary to reckon with the company’s own bias in order to improve transparency with users.
“I haven’t done enough of articulating my own personal objectives with the service,” he said. “I think people see a faceless corporation that has… they don’t assume that humans are in it. They just assume based on what the output is. That’s on us, that’s on me.”