Sen. Josh Hawley Presses Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Censorship ‘Blacklist’ Revealed by Hackers

Sen. Josh Hawley has some questions for Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey after a huge security breach was caused by hackers attacking his social media platform.

Hawley is particularly concerned with the “blacklist” that is being kept by Twitter. The social media giant has frequently denied that they are choking conservative voices off of their platform, even as conservatives are deplatformed, shadowbanned, and otherwise discriminated against by the Silicon Valley monolith.

“One such screenshot indicates that Twitter employs tools allowing it to append “Search Blacklist,” “Trends Blacklist,” “Bounced,” and “ReadOnly” flags to user accounts. Given your insistence in testimony to Congress that Twitter does not engage in politically biased “shadowbanning” and the public interest in Twitter’s moderation practices, it is notable that Twitter reportedly suspended user accounts sharing screenshots of this panel,” Hawley wrote in his letter.

He is demanding that Dorsey and Twitter executives “define the terms “Search Blacklist,” “Trends Blacklist,” “Bounced,” and “ReadOnly.” Please also explain, for each term, whether such flags on user accounts affect the visibility of tweets within users’ timelines.”

“Please explain the rules that Twitter uses to implement such flags on user accounts and tweets and the process by which Twitter ensures that such implementation is not conducted in a politically biased manner. As you no doubt recall, you have testified to Congress that “We believe strongly in being impartial, and we strive to enforce our rules impartially. We do not shadowban anyone based on political ideology.” This statement indicates that your use of these internal systems is governed by “rules” rather than mere discretion,” Hawley added.

Big League Politics has reported on Hawley’s efforts to break up the Big Tech monopoly by amending the problematic Section 230 of the Communcations Decency Act:

CNS News reported that Missouri Senator Josh Hawley sent Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey a letter on May 27, 2020 taking the company to task for “fact-checking” President Trump’s about mail-in ballots.

In a number of Tweets he made on May 27, Dorsey sustained that Trump’s comments regarding mail-ballots being filled with fraud “may mislead people into thinking they don’t need to register to get a ballot (only registered voters receive ballots),” Dorsey Tweeted. We’re updating the link on @realDonaldTrump’s tweet to make this more clear,” Dorsey continued.

Hawley noted that on Tuesday, “for the first time ever, Twitter branded the President’s tweets with a ‘fact check’ designed to encourage readers to believe that the President’s political speech was inaccurate.”

Hawley commented, “Twitter’s decision to editorialize regarding the content of political speech raises questions about why Twitter should continue receiving special status and special immunity from publisher liability under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.”

According to Section 230, companies that distribute user content are not treated as a publisher, like outlets such as New York Times or the Washington Post.

Hawley also called attention to the fact that Twitter failed to respond to the “outright lies and propaganda by the Chinese Communist Party,” which used social media to scapegoat American soldiers for starting the Wuhan virus pandemic.

Hawley is wanting Twitter to explain why companies which behave like publishers — namely editing President Trump’s tweets in the aforementioned case — should not receive publisher treatments.

Twitter has been embarrassed with their hacking scandal, and this could be an opportunity to finally hold the company accountable for their disreputable business practices.

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