Update (1115ET): Senators Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz have reportedly confirmed that the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Tuesday to issue a subpoena of Twitter's Jack Dorsey.
Graham says his cmte will vote to subpoena social media companies over the NY Post/Hunter Biden blocking issue. This will happen next Friday, October 23— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) October 15, 2020
.@tedcruz says that the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Tuesday to issue a subpoena of Twitter's Jack Dorsey— Leigh Ann Caldwell (@LACaldwellDC) October 15, 2020
As a reminder, here is Dorsey in 2018, testifying to Congress (emphasis ours):
Thank you Chairman Walden, Ranking Member Pallone, and the committee, for the opportunity to speak on behalf of Twitter to the American people. I look forward to our conversation about our commitment to impartiality, transparency, and accountability.
If it’s okay with all of you, I’d like to read you something I personally wrote as I thought about these issues. I’ll also tweet it out now.
I want to start by making something clear: we don't consider political viewpoints, perspectives, or party affiliation in any of our policies or enforcement decisions. Period. Impartiality is our guiding principle. Let me explain why.
We believe many people use Twitter as a digital public square. They gather from all around the world to see what’s happening, and have a conversation about what they see.
Twitter cannot rightly serve as a public square if it’s constructed around the personal opinions of its makers. We believe a key driver of a thriving public square is the fundamental human right of freedom of opinion and expression.
Our early and strong defense of open and free exchange has enabled Twitter to be THE platform for activists, marginalized communities, whistleblowers, journalists, governments and the most influential people around the world. Twitter will always default to open and free exchange.
A default to free expression left unchecked can generate risks and dangers for people. It’s important Twitter distinguishes between people’s opinions and behaviors, and disarms behavior intending to silence another person, or adversely interfere with their universal human rights.
We build our policies and rules with a principle of impartiality: objective criteria, rather than on the basis of bias, prejudice, or preferring the benefit to one person over another for improper reasons. If we learn we failed to create impartial outcomes, we work hard to fix.
In the spirit of accountability and transparency: recently we failed our intended impartiality. Our algorithms were unfairly filtering 600,000 accounts, including some members of Congress, from our search auto-complete and latest results. We fixed it. But how did it happen?
Our technology was using a decision making criteria that considers the behavior of people following these accounts. We decided that wasn’t fair, and corrected. We‘ll always improve our technology and algorithms to drive healthier usage, and measure the impartiality of outcomes.
Bias in algorithms is an important topic. Our responsibility is to understand, measure, and reduce accidental bias due to factors such as the quality of the data used to train our algorithms. This is an extremely complex challenge facing everyone applying artificial intelligence.
For our part, machine learning teams at Twitter are experimenting with these techniques and developing roadmaps to ensure present and future machine learning models uphold a high standard when it comes to algorithmic fairness. It’s an important step towards ensuring impartiality.
Looking at the data, we analyzed tweets sent by all members of the House and Senate, and found no statistically significant difference between the number of times a tweet by a Democrat is viewed versus a Republican, even after our ranking and filtering of tweets has been applied.
Also, there’s a distinction we need to make clear. When people follow you, you’ve earned that audience. And we have a responsibility to make sure they can see your tweets. We do not have a responsibility, nor you a right, to amplify your tweets to audiences that don’t follow you.
What our algorithms decide to show in shared spaces, like search results, is based on thousands of signals that constantly learn and evolve over time. Some of those signals are engagement, some are the number of abuse reports. We balance all of these to prevent gaming our system.
We acknowledge the growing concern people have of the power held by companies like Twitter. We believe it’s dangerous to ask Twitter to regulate opinions or be the arbiter of truth. We’d rather be judged by the impartiality of outcomes, and criticized when we fail this principle.
In closing, when I think of our work, I think of my mom and dad in St. Louis, a Democrat and a Republican. We had lots of frustrating and heated debates, but looking back, I appreciate I was able to hear and challenge different perspectives. And I appreciate I felt safe to do so.
We believe Twitter helps people connect to something bigger than themselves, shows all the amazing things happening in the world, and all the things we need to acknowledge and address. We‘re constantly learning how to make it freer and healthier for all to participate. Thank you.
That did not age well.
* * *
After yesterday's cross-platform social media embargo on a New York Post exposé detailing explosive evidence against Joe and Hunter Biden, Twitter is at it again on Thursday - suspending the Trump campaign's official account for sharing a video accusing the former Vice President of being a "liar who has been ripping off the country for years."
Twitter has suspended @TeamTrump for posting a video calling Joe Biden a liar who has been ripping off our country for years, as it relates to the @nypost article.— Mike Hahn (@mikehahn_) October 15, 2020
19 days out from the election. pic.twitter.com/Z9FFzridyr
According to emails obtained on a laptop reportedly abandoned at a Delaware computer repair shop (which also contained photos of Hunter smoking crack and an alleged sex tape), Hunter Biden introduced his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, to a top executive at Burisma - a Ukrainian energy giant paying Hunter upwards of $50,000 per month to sit on its board.
"Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure," reads the email.
In another email from May 2014, Burisma board adviser Vadym Pozharskiy asked Hunter for "advice on how you could use your influence" on the company's behalf.
In response to the allegations, Twitter and Facebook aggressively censored anyone sharing the Post story on Wednesday - suspended the Post itself while claiming that it was distributing 'hacked material.'
The Post's primary Twitter account (@nypost) has also been locked because the Hunter Biden stories violate its rules against "distribution of hacked material," per email we received from Twitter https://t.co/wbeYd6c3CA— Noah Manskar (@noahmanskar) October 14, 2020
The social media giant also blocked the official account of the House Judiciary GOP for sharing yesterday's story.
Twitter's response sparked such a political backlash - with accusations of partisan election interference flying, that CEO Jack Dorsey issued a mea culpa, admitting that the company hadn't offered a sufficient explanation as to why the company blocked the Biden story (while failing to explain why they continue to allow unfounded Trump-Russia conspiracies to remain on the platform). Dorsey said that there had been a 'lack of communication' surrounding Twitter's decision, and that "Our communication around our actions on the NYPost article was not great. And blocking URL sharing via tweet or DM with zero context as to why we’re blocking: unacceptable."
Twitter is also now hiding behind the Washington Post's 'confirmation' that Joe Biden didn't push out a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating Hunter.
This is straight-up gaslighting. Twitter should ban itself for misinformation. There’s video of Uncle Joe boasting that he pushed out the prosecutor. pic.twitter.com/26CIWFFwjl— Sohrab Ahmari (@SohrabAhmari) October 15, 2020
Yet, despite Dorsey's mea culpa, Twitter is at it again on Thursday, censoring the Post's second installment of 'Bidengate' - citing never-before-seen emails between Hunter Biden and various individuals connected to a major Chinese energy firm that failed earlier this year after its chairman - a party insider with deep ties to China's military - was "disappeared" by China's state security apparatus.
A subject line on the email, dated May 13, 2017 read "Expectations", and it included details of "remuneration packages" for six individuals involved in the new business venture (the nature of the business wasn't clear, though it appears to be related to Biden's international consulting business). However, Biden's partner in the business appears to be CEFC China Energy, the now-defunct energy firm mentioned above.
In response, Twitter is in full censorship mode, again.
Unbelievable. Yesterday, @twitter blocks links to @nypost story alleging Joe Biden corruption on China.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) October 15, 2020
TODAY, blocking links to ANOTHER NYPost story alleging Hunter Biden sold access to communist China for millions. I just tried to share that story. Here’s Twitter’s response 👇 pic.twitter.com/NZpw4gmcb2
Twitter is now censoring the New York Post's report on how Hunter Biden attempted to cash in with Chinese firms. pic.twitter.com/Az9KE0eens— Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan) October 15, 2020
There needs to be an immediate government investigation into @twitter/@jack.— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) October 15, 2020
Not just because of their blatant election interference to protect Biden, but to find out if they're censoring these NY Post stories at the behest of the Chinese Communist Party.
Put Jack under oath!!! https://t.co/XCYzRWKsLk
What would Twitter do if this was a scandal involving the Trumps? Based on the unverified Russia allegations they continue to allow on the platform, it becomes a rhetorical question.
Tucker Carlson segment on Hunter Biden selling access to his father when he was Vice President— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) October 15, 2020