Jack Dorsey stood up under oath before the House Energy and Commerce Committee back in September and said with a straight face that neither Twitter's algorithm nor the company's policies target individual users due to their political orientation.
It doesn't take a deeply researched understanding of Twitter's persistent shadowbanning - and outright banning - of conservative voices like Laura Loomer to see that this is patently untrue. And while Dorsey was willing to concede during the Sept. 5 hearing that Twitter wrongly shadowbanned some 600,000 accounts, many of which belonged to conservatives using the platform, his insistence that Twitter was free of bias (something he was willing to acknowledge back in July during an interview on CNN) clearly unnerved several Congressmen, who suspected that Dorsey wasn't being entirely truthful.
And after Dorsey and Twitter ignored follow-up questions from the committee - making their disdain for the Republicans who grilled Dorsey clear - the committee is finally doing something about it.
According to a committee aide who leaked news of the investigation to the Federalist, the Energy and Commerce Committee is now investigating Dorsey over allegations that he lied to Congress during the September hearing about the social media company's seemingly arbitrary banning of conservatives.
During testimony before the committee, which has broad authority to oversee and regulate telecommunications companies and social media publishers like Twitter, Dorsey repeatedly claimed that neither Twitter’s policies nor its algorithms took users’ political views into account when censoring content published by the site.
"I want to start by making something very clear," Dorsey testified on September 5, 2018. "We don’t consider political viewpoints, perspectives, or party affiliation in any of our policies or enforcement decisions, period."
"Our policies and our algorithms don’t take into consideration any affiliation, philosophy, or viewpoint," Dorsey claimed again later in the hearing.
But a simple review of Twitter's conduct policy shows that certain political viewpoints are embedded in its rules of conduct. One example is the company's treatment of "misgendering" or "deadnaming" transgender individuals.
A review of Twitter’s so-called hateful conduct policy, however, shows that the company has explicitly codified political views into its policies. For example, the social media publisher states that it will ban users if they accurately refer to the biological sex of "transgendered" individuals who believe without evidence that biological men can become biological women, and vice versa.
"We prohibit targeting individuals with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category," Twitter’s policy states. "This includes targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals."
"Deadnaming" is the use of an individual’s name on his or her original birth certificate that generally corresponds with the individual’s immutable biological sex, and "misgendering" is the accurate reference to an individual’s biological sex. Contrary to Dorsey’s claim before Congress that Twitter’s content and user censorship policies don’t take political viewpoints into account, a policy that discriminates against those who convey indisputably accurate scientific and historical information is by its very nature exclusively political.
Since the hearing, Twitter has refused to respond to dozens of questions for the record posed by the committee, ignoring an Oct. 15 deadline, according to the aide.
"Twitter has not yet provided responses to members’ questions for the record, despite an October 15th deadline," the aide said. "It is important that Congress receive this requested information to ensure we are able to properly perform our oversight responsibilities."
Twitter refused to answer any of the Federalists' questions. But assuming the investigation moves forward, perhaps it will inspire their Democratic colleagues to apply similar scrutiny to Mark Zuckerberg.