Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and one of his top executives were grilled on Tuesday over the enforcement of hate speech rules that seem driven by a left-leaning ideology at the expense of those with opposing viewpoints exercising their First Amendment rights.
Dorsey and Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s global lead for public safety, often found themselves on the defensive while appearing as guests on the highly popular “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast.
The Daily Dot reported it was the second time in a month Dorsey was on the program. Rogan also invited independent journalist Tim Pool to assist in this round of questioning. The commentator made it clear he is not a conservative but is passionate about free speech rights.
“Twitter is slowly gaining, in my opinion, too much control from your personal ideology, based on what you’ve researched is right, over American discourse,” Pool told Dorsey and Gadde.
He pointed to the issue of Twitter’s rule against misgendering as a prime example of the social media giant’s political bent.
Pool noted for conservatives misgendering means calling someone a gender other than what is biologically true, while progressives leave it up to the individual to choose: a clear ideological divide.
Under Twitter’s rules, someone can be kicked off the platform if they fail to refer to a transgender person by the gender they have chosen to identify as.
“I have a rule against the abuse and harassment of trans people on our platform,” Gadde said. “That’s what my rule is.”
She cited research by the American Association of Pediatrics and the Human Rights Council as her authority regarding the matter.
“Ben Shapiro has his sources, too,” Pool countered, referencing Shapiro’s stance that gender is based on biology.
Rogan jumped into the debate arguing, “If your standards are your policies are not biologically accurate, then you’re dealing with an ideological policy.”
Pool and Rogan offered the example of Canadian journalist and self-described feminist Meghan Murphy who was banned from Twitter in November after arguing, in the context of biological men competing in women’s sports, that “men aren’t women.”
“The final straw for Twitter was a tweet in which Murphy referred to a transgender activist, Jessica Yaniv, as ‘him.’ Murphy’s tweet included a screenshot of a review that Yaniv posted for a waxing salon, under the previous name, ‘Jonathan Yaniv,’ which is still listed on Yaniv’s Twitter profile,” The Daily Caller reported.
Gadde said Murphy had been warned multiple times before she was suspended.
Rogan responded in Murphy’s defense, “She’s not being mean by saying a man is never a woman. This is a perspective that is scientifically accurate.”
Gadde admitted Rogan made a good point.
“I think what I’m trying to say is that it’s not that you can’t have those viewpoints. If you’re taking those viewpoints and you’re targeting at a specific person in a way that reflects your intent to abuse and harass them,” she said.
The executive added that she understands Twitter’s position is controversial, but “it is a rule on our platform.”
“We’re always learning and trying to understand different people’s perspectives. All I’ll say is our intent is not to police ideology, our intent is to police behaviors that we view as abuse and harassment,” she explained.
Dorsey also conceded that Twitter does make ideological choices, but the company is looking to broaden its perspective by decentralizing its workforce out of the San Francisco area.
Rogan went on to dive into the topic of enforcement against racism on Twitter.
“You can mock white people ad nauseam,” he said. “I think racism is looking at someone that is from whatever race and deciding that they are in fact less or less worthy or less valuable, whatever it is. That takes place across the platform against white people.”
He added, “(I)t’s hypocritical to have a policy that only distinguishes you can make fun of white people all day long but if you decide to make fun of Asian folks or fill-in-the-blank, that is racist but making fun of white people isn’t and it doesn’t get removed (from Twitter).”
Gadde assured both Rogan and Pool that Twitter’s racism rules are applied across all races.
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