Now that Facebook’s political practices have gotten their time in the spotlight, Twitter’s censorship of the right has come under scrutiny, with even members of Congress weighing in on what the social media giant marks as “inappropriate.”
The latest salvo comes from a familiar source — conservative actor and Twitter pundit James Woods, who noted that he had run across a soldier saluting a flag at half-staff that was flagged as offensive content.
“I am so sick of this crap from @Twitter. You know that warning you get from @Twitter notifying you of a potentially ‘offensive’ tweet?” Woods tweeted on Sunday.
“The photo below was that tweet.”
I am so sick of this crap from @Twitter. You know that warning you get from @Twitter notifying you of a potentially “offensive” tweet? The photo below was that tweet… What is wrong with you, @jack? Try disguising your hatred for this flag a little better, can’t you? pic.twitter.com/GW2KhLx650
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) July 8, 2018
“What is wrong with you, @jack?” Woods continued, tagging Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey.
“Try disguising your hatred for this flag a little better, can’t you?”
Woods’ post received plenty of supportive responses.
— Pam (@2hazel_eyez) July 8, 2018
— Kimberly (@KimberlyBlunk) July 8, 2018
Woods’ tweet comes a month after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, a California Republican, accused Twitter of censoring an account that retweets Drudge Report headlines.
Noting that Google had similar problems with anti-conservative bias, Nunes said that “this censorship of conservatives and Republicans and conservative values continues in this country and here in California we’re on the front lines.”
“I just looked on Twitter. Drudge — the Drudge Report is being censored today, so for the last three or four days I haven’t been able to get on the Drudge Report because it’s being censored on Twitter,” he claimed.
Nunes’ aides later said that the censorship involved the same “offensive content” warning, which requires the user to click to see what’s being shown. The content warning is usually only used on graphic or controversial material, like pornography or vulgarity.
The account Nunes was likely referencing later claimed that Twitter itself had changed its settings to mark all of its material as potentially offensive content, although the only proof provided was a screen shot.
Twitter also faced criticism after its front page referred to Turning Point USA pundit Candace Owens as a “far-right” commentator on its news feed, leading to an apology from CEO Dorsey.
Aside from that, Dorsey hasn’t waded into the controversy regarding his platform. That may not continue to be an option, however, considering chairmen of two of the most powerful tech-focused committees on Capitol Hill have urged Dorsey to testify before Congress about Twitter’s privacy policies in the same manner that Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg did.
“Trust me, it’s much easier to testify at a congressional hearing before your company gets caught up in a scandal,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Ron Walden, an Oregon Republican, wrote back in May in a rather unsubtle San Francisco Chronicle op-ed published after Zuckerberg’s testimony.
The Washington Post also reported that Sen. John Thune — the South Dakota Republican who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee — recommended that Dorsey testify before Congress after a meeting with the CEO.
Tweeting about #Twitter seems like something straight out of Inception, but I had a great conversation with CEO @Jack about the power of his platform and what they’re doing to protect users. #Tweetception pic.twitter.com/e8HXo5ldFh
— Senator John Thune (@SenJohnThune) May 17, 2018
Whether Dorsey takes either of those suggestions is anyone’s guess, but if such an appearance were to happen, Dorsey would likely face similar questions to Zuckerberg, including queries regarding political bias.
When your company is flagging the American flag as potentially offensive, that could make Capitol Hill very dangerous territory indeed.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.