McCarthy: Twitter CEO should explain company's content monitoring practices

McCarthy: Twitter CEO should explain company's content monitoring practices
© Greg Nash
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil GOP: The economy will shield us from blue wave Jordan hits campaign trail amid bid for Speaker MORE (R-Calif.) says he hopes Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's testimony Wednesday on Capitol Hill provides insights into his company's algorithms and content monitoring practices as the social media giant battles allegations that its operations are influenced by politics.
 
McCarthy, who has been one of the most vocal critics of Silicon Valley companies over alleged anti-conservative bias, told The Hill on Tuesday that he expects Dorsey's testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee to be the first of several for members of the tech community.
 
"This won't be the last hearing. There will be more people coming in," he said.
 
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The California Republican has been a leading critic of social media platforms over their handling of right-leaning figures and he wrote to Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenHouse GOP blocks Trump-supported drug pricing provision from spending bill GOP turns its fire on Google Hillicon Valley: Twitter chief faces GOP anger over bias | DOJ convenes meeting on bias claims | Rubio clashes with Alex Jones | DHS chief urges lawmakers to pass cyber bill | Sanders bill takes aim at Amazon MORE (R-Ore.) last month requesting that his panel interview Dorsey.
 
McCarthy's crusade against alleged social media bias comes following reports earlier this summer that prominent conservative voices — including Reps.  Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzThe federal government must stop stifling medical marijuana research Hillicon Valley: Twitter chief faces GOP anger over bias | DOJ convenes meeting on bias claims | Rubio clashes with Alex Jones | DHS chief urges lawmakers to pass cyber bill | Sanders bill takes aim at Amazon Conservatives blame McCarthy for Twitter getting before favorable committee MORE (R-Fla.), House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsGraham to renew call for second special counsel Hillicon Valley: Sanders finds perfect target in Amazon | Cyberattacks are new fear 17 years after 9/11 | Firm outs alleged British Airways hackers | Trump to target election interference with sanctions | Apple creating portal for police data requests Graham: Obama, not Trump, politicized DOJ and FBI MORE (R-N.C.), Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanJordan says FBI used 'crushing power of the state' to probe Trump campaign based on dossier GOP lawmakers nearing deal to get Nellie Ohr to testify The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil MORE (R-Ohio) and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel — failed to appear on Twitter’s auto-populated drop-down search box when users typed in their names.

Dorsey attributed the situation to an algorithm intended to reduce the presence of white supremacists and other extremists on the platform, asserting political ideology doesn't impact the company's content decisions.
 
McCarthy in his interview Tuesday called for increased transparency involving the social media site's practices, saying it was especially important given the number of people who consume their news using social media. 
 
"I think when you look at social media today it's a town square," he told The Hill. "Sixty-seven percent of all adults get their news or some of their news from the internet."
 
The GOP leader also rejected pushback he received after recently citing a tweet from Fox News's Laura Ingraham to criticize tech companies for alleged censorship.
 
Twitter users blasted the example, saying the tweet was listed as sensitive simply due to the settings on McCarthy's account.
 
The California Republican said the critiques were unwarranted, adding that humans create the algorithms used by Twitter and warning that they could be "too sensitive."

"The shadow banning, what I really want to see from — and I've spent a lot of time with Jack Dorsey — what's the definition of shadow banning?" he said.
 
"You say it's an algorithm, but in this algorithm — and people attacked me but they didn't understand what I was trying to make a point of — Laura Ingraham put a tweet out on immigration in Sweden and they marked that as sensitive. So that's the algorithm picking where it goes up."
 
"The way to solve this is we need transparency and accountability," he added.

McCarthy applauded Dorsey for agreeing to speak before the committee Wednesday, adding he expects he will be the first of several members of the tech community to testify before Congress on the issue. 

"You know, I put a letter out telling him I want him to come and a lot of people thought he would not," he said. "We had discussions about it. I mean, we differ philosophically, but we both believe in the First Amendment." 

The California Republican also mentioned issues with Facebook and Google, citing an instance where Facebook deleted two conservative videos.

"We look at what Google has done, too. We've got the California Republican Party two weeks out from the primary put our ideology as Nazism. And, you know, when Google started, the company said 'Do no evil,' and I think that's a pretty good model for all social media, so let's get to the bottom of it and solve the problem."