Twitter's Jack Dorsey Lied to Congress

I may be signing my own Twitter death warrant with this opinion piece but so be it if I dare to criticize and accuse the man who has more power to influence American political thought than Vladimir Putin ever could dream of having. That man is Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. By silencing conservative thought, he can control much of America’s political dialogue, with his minions deliberately steering it in a leftist direction reflecting their inner beliefs, while blaming it on inanimate software. Pushed to the wall, they bleat that the algorithm made them do it.

As this Congress winds down, news comes that a House Committee is belatedly investigating whether Dorsey lied to Congress during recent testimony. My only question is whether his lips were moving:

A top House committee that oversees the U.S. telecommunications industry is now reviewing whether Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey lied to Congress during a hearing about Twitter’s controversial history of arbitrarily censoring content published by the site, an aide for the House Energy and Commerce committee told The Federalist.

“The committee is aware of Twitter’s actions and is currently reviewing Mr. Dorsey’s testimony,” the aide said after Twitter suddenly banned Jesse Kelly, a Marine combat veteran, writer, and popular radio talk show host, without explanation.

As The Federalist reported on Monday, Dorsey was not truthful about his or his company’s response to death threats against prominent conservatives -- including against Meghan McCain shortly after the death of her father, former Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) -- nor was he truthful about whether Twitter policies discriminated against users based on their politics. It is a federal crime to provide false testimony to Congress…

“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.

Horsefeathers. That tremor on the Richter scale is the result of conservatives like Twitter target actor James Woods is the result of Twitter conservatives falling on the floor laughing. The Twitter policy known as “shadow banning” is based on ideological rules that tilt sharply to the left. The followers you can reach restricted. Routine purges of conservative followers are conducted. A politically incorrect hash tag can put a crosshairs on your Twitter account. You never know if your tweet is reaching anyone at all. 

In the age before cable, there was an iconic sci-fi program called The Outer Limits whose opening featured a series of test patterns, flickering screens and a narrator who solemnly intoned, “Do not attempt to adjust your television set. We will control all that you see and hear.” Today that is a chilling reality as social media giants like Twitter routinely censor what people can see and hear on their sites.

For example,  Thanks to James O’Keefe of Project Veritas we know some of the details of, methods, and reasons for Twitter’s pro-active censoring of conservatives:

Twitter direct messaging engineer Pranay Singh admitted to mass-banning accounts that express interest in God, guns, and America, during a Project Veritas investigation.

“Just go to a random [Trump] tweet and just look at the followers. They’ll all be like, guns, God, ‘Merica, and with the American flag and the cross,” declared Singh, who was secretly recorded by Project Veritas reporters. “Like, who says that? Who talks like that? It’s for sure a bot.”…

“So if there’s like ‘American, guns,’ [in the account bio] can you write an algorithm to just take all those people out?” asked one undercover reporter.

“Umm, yeah, it’s actually how we do it,” Singh replied. “You look for ‘Trump,’ or ‘America,’ or any of, like, five thousand, like, keywords to describe a redneck, and then you look, and you parse all the messages, all the pictures, and then look for stuff that matches that stuff… You assign a value to each thing, so like Trump would be .5, a picture of a gun would be like 1.5, and if the total comes up above a certain value, then it’s a bot.”

Twitter has even gone after the likes of the iconic Matt Drudge, former Breitbart news editor Milo Yiannopoulos, and Dilbert creator Scott Adams, as well as engaging in a practice called “shadow banning” to limit the access and exposure of largely conservative accounts.

Yiannopoulos  is familiar with the suppression of free speech and the First Amendment by the politically correct left, having a speech at UC Berkeley canceled after violent riots by the politically intolerant left. Pundits have dubbed the suppression of conservative speakers on campus the “heckler’s veto” which allows the arbiters of political correctness to deny a forum to those they disagree with.

Yiannopoulos is also familiar with another form of suppression of free speech, this time in social media forums such as Twitter called “shadow banning”. Tweets of the kind President Trump is famous for are banned from being seen by other than a given account’s followers, limiting visibility. Twitter and its support team claim it is merely spanking temporarily those that violates their rules and terms of service, but Yiannopoulos thinks it is political correctness run amok with the goal of, as at Berkeley and elsewhere, of silencing conservatives:

Rumours that Twitter has begun ‘shadowbanning’ politically inconvenient users have been confirmed by a source inside the company, who spoke exclusively to Breitbart Tech. His claim was corroborated by a senior editor at a major publisher.

According to the source, Twitter maintains a ‘whitelist’ of favoured Twitter accounts and a ‘blacklist’ of unfavoured accounts. Accounts on the whitelist are prioritised in search results, even if they’re not the most popular among users. Meanwhile, accounts on the blacklist have their posts hidden from both search results and other users’ timelines…

The pattern of shadowban reports, which skews towards the alt-right, the populist right, and cultural libertarians, follows close on the heels of Twitter’s establishment of a “Trust and Safety Council” packed with left-wing advocacy groups, as well as Islamic research centre the Wahid Institute...

With shadowbans now confirmed by an inside source, there is little room for doubt that the platform is intent on silencing conservatives. Furthermore, it has demonstrated a complete lack of regard for transparency, concealing its shadowbanning system from users and hiding its political bias behind a veneer of opposition to online abuse…

Yes, it is Twitter’s sandbox and, yes, there are spammers uninterested in any real dialogue. Yes, there are pornbots and photos any reasonable person would find offensive. There are Twitter equivalents to yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre. But Twitter has gone beyond enforcing rules of civility to enforcing its view of political correctness, punishing conservatives who use social media, particularly those who are good at it. 

It is no accident. It is not an “error”. It is intentional.  Ever since Twitter’s cofounder expressed regret in inadvertently helping Trump get elected, Twitter has mounted a deliberate campaign to make sure it doesn’t happen again in 2020.

Dorsey, of course, claims that “mistakes have been made” and he has repented of Twitter’s sins, but Jesse Kelly’s recent experience belies that. Twitter, for example, has instated a war on so-called “dead-naming” which can get you permanently banned. You cannot on Twitter refer to transgendered individuals by their original gender or name. Don’t you dare call Chelsea Manning “Mr. Manning”.

We know what happens when you violate Twitter’s rules. Let’s see what happens to Dorsey for violating Congress’ rules.  

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.               

I may be signing my own Twitter death warrant with this opinion piece but so be it if I dare to criticize and accuse the man who has more power to influence American political thought than Vladimir Putin ever could dream of having. That man is Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. By silencing conservative thought, he can control much of America’s political dialogue, with his minions deliberately steering it in a leftist direction reflecting their inner beliefs, while blaming it on inanimate software. Pushed to the wall, they bleat that the algorithm made them do it.

As this Congress winds down, news comes that a House Committee is belatedly investigating whether Dorsey lied to Congress during recent testimony. My only question is whether his lips were moving:

A top House committee that oversees the U.S. telecommunications industry is now reviewing whether Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey lied to Congress during a hearing about Twitter’s controversial history of arbitrarily censoring content published by the site, an aide for the House Energy and Commerce committee told The Federalist.

“The committee is aware of Twitter’s actions and is currently reviewing Mr. Dorsey’s testimony,” the aide said after Twitter suddenly banned Jesse Kelly, a Marine combat veteran, writer, and popular radio talk show host, without explanation.

As The Federalist reported on Monday, Dorsey was not truthful about his or his company’s response to death threats against prominent conservatives -- including against Meghan McCain shortly after the death of her father, former Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) -- nor was he truthful about whether Twitter policies discriminated against users based on their politics. It is a federal crime to provide false testimony to Congress…

“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.

Horsefeathers. That tremor on the Richter scale is the result of conservatives like Twitter target actor James Woods is the result of Twitter conservatives falling on the floor laughing. The Twitter policy known as “shadow banning” is based on ideological rules that tilt sharply to the left. The followers you can reach restricted. Routine purges of conservative followers are conducted. A politically incorrect hash tag can put a crosshairs on your Twitter account. You never know if your tweet is reaching anyone at all. 

In the age before cable, there was an iconic sci-fi program called The Outer Limits whose opening featured a series of test patterns, flickering screens and a narrator who solemnly intoned, “Do not attempt to adjust your television set. We will control all that you see and hear.” Today that is a chilling reality as social media giants like Twitter routinely censor what people can see and hear on their sites.

For example,  Thanks to James O’Keefe of Project Veritas we know some of the details of, methods, and reasons for Twitter’s pro-active censoring of conservatives:

Twitter direct messaging engineer Pranay Singh admitted to mass-banning accounts that express interest in God, guns, and America, during a Project Veritas investigation.

“Just go to a random [Trump] tweet and just look at the followers. They’ll all be like, guns, God, ‘Merica, and with the American flag and the cross,” declared Singh, who was secretly recorded by Project Veritas reporters. “Like, who says that? Who talks like that? It’s for sure a bot.”…

“So if there’s like ‘American, guns,’ [in the account bio] can you write an algorithm to just take all those people out?” asked one undercover reporter.

“Umm, yeah, it’s actually how we do it,” Singh replied. “You look for ‘Trump,’ or ‘America,’ or any of, like, five thousand, like, keywords to describe a redneck, and then you look, and you parse all the messages, all the pictures, and then look for stuff that matches that stuff… You assign a value to each thing, so like Trump would be .5, a picture of a gun would be like 1.5, and if the total comes up above a certain value, then it’s a bot.”

Twitter has even gone after the likes of the iconic Matt Drudge, former Breitbart news editor Milo Yiannopoulos, and Dilbert creator Scott Adams, as well as engaging in a practice called “shadow banning” to limit the access and exposure of largely conservative accounts.

Yiannopoulos  is familiar with the suppression of free speech and the First Amendment by the politically correct left, having a speech at UC Berkeley canceled after violent riots by the politically intolerant left. Pundits have dubbed the suppression of conservative speakers on campus the “heckler’s veto” which allows the arbiters of political correctness to deny a forum to those they disagree with.

Yiannopoulos is also familiar with another form of suppression of free speech, this time in social media forums such as Twitter called “shadow banning”. Tweets of the kind President Trump is famous for are banned from being seen by other than a given account’s followers, limiting visibility. Twitter and its support team claim it is merely spanking temporarily those that violates their rules and terms of service, but Yiannopoulos thinks it is political correctness run amok with the goal of, as at Berkeley and elsewhere, of silencing conservatives:

Rumours that Twitter has begun ‘shadowbanning’ politically inconvenient users have been confirmed by a source inside the company, who spoke exclusively to Breitbart Tech. His claim was corroborated by a senior editor at a major publisher.

According to the source, Twitter maintains a ‘whitelist’ of favoured Twitter accounts and a ‘blacklist’ of unfavoured accounts. Accounts on the whitelist are prioritised in search results, even if they’re not the most popular among users. Meanwhile, accounts on the blacklist have their posts hidden from both search results and other users’ timelines…

The pattern of shadowban reports, which skews towards the alt-right, the populist right, and cultural libertarians, follows close on the heels of Twitter’s establishment of a “Trust and Safety Council” packed with left-wing advocacy groups, as well as Islamic research centre the Wahid Institute...

With shadowbans now confirmed by an inside source, there is little room for doubt that the platform is intent on silencing conservatives. Furthermore, it has demonstrated a complete lack of regard for transparency, concealing its shadowbanning system from users and hiding its political bias behind a veneer of opposition to online abuse…

Yes, it is Twitter’s sandbox and, yes, there are spammers uninterested in any real dialogue. Yes, there are pornbots and photos any reasonable person would find offensive. There are Twitter equivalents to yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre. But Twitter has gone beyond enforcing rules of civility to enforcing its view of political correctness, punishing conservatives who use social media, particularly those who are good at it. 

It is no accident. It is not an “error”. It is intentional.  Ever since Twitter’s cofounder expressed regret in inadvertently helping Trump get elected, Twitter has mounted a deliberate campaign to make sure it doesn’t happen again in 2020.

Dorsey, of course, claims that “mistakes have been made” and he has repented of Twitter’s sins, but Jesse Kelly’s recent experience belies that. Twitter, for example, has instated a war on so-called “dead-naming” which can get you permanently banned. You cannot on Twitter refer to transgendered individuals by their original gender or name. Don’t you dare call Chelsea Manning “Mr. Manning”.

We know what happens when you violate Twitter’s rules. Let’s see what happens to Dorsey for violating Congress’ rules.  

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.