While speaking at a congressional hearing on misinformation and social media, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Thursday acknowledged that his platform made a “total mistake” by barring users from sharing The NY Post’s bombshell October report about Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden’s emails.
Twitter had also locked The Post out of its account for over two weeks over unsubstantiated allegations that the exposé used hacked information.
Dorsey downplayed the mistake by his social media platform by chalking it up to “process error”, assuring that Twitter does not have a “censoring department” that blocked The Post from tweeting last fall. Even though Jack accepted his company’s mistake, he did not reveal who was behind the decision, in remarks at a House hearing on Thursday.
When asked if any employee was “held accountable” for blocking the NY Post’s account, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey dodged the question, saying “we don’t have a censoring department”.
“It was literally just a process error. This was not against them in any particular way,” Dorsey told the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
On being asked why Twitter had blocked The Post’s account for more than two weeks, Dorsey refuted saying that the company did not block them for two weeks. “We required them to delete the tweet and then they could tweet it again,” he elaborated. “They didn’t take that action, so we corrected it for them.”
Twitter had initially removed The Post story that was based on emails between Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe Biden, and an executive at Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings, claiming it to be sourced from “hacked materials”. In its defence, Twitter had claimed that it has a policy in place that forbade uploading content “obtained through hacking that contains private information, may put people in physical harm or danger or contains trade secrets”.
Two weeks after The Post broke its story, on October 30, Twitter backpedalled and unlocked its account. Dorsey had earlier stated that the decision to block the story was “wrong“.
Twitter’s left-leaning bias and political interefnece
It is notable to mention that the story about Hunter Biden’s email conversation with a Ukrainian executive broke at the time when the United States was preparing for the Presidential elections between the incumbent Donald Trump and his rival Joe Biden, who is also the father of Hunter Biden.
The left-leaning liberals in the United States had thrown their weight behind Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden. With Twitter having admitted of its left-leaning bias, many analysts claim that the decision to suppress the Hunter Biden story by the social media behemoth might have been taken to prevent it from influencing the opinions against Joe Biden.
Besides, former US President Donald Trump has long accused Twitter of being prejudiced against him and his Republican Party. As American entered its presidential election year, Twitter’s efforts to undermine President Trump were on the rise. In May 2020, Trump accused Twitter of interfering in the US Presidential elections after it flagged the American President’s tweet with a “misleading content” label. The former president had also accused that Twitter has not extended the same kind of scrutiny to the left-leaning Democrat leaders.
Back in India as well, Twitter has been caught for its jaundiced propaganda against the Modi government. In December 2020, Twitter labelled a tweet posted by BJP IT Cell head Amit Malviya as “misleading content”. Malviya in his tweet had exposed Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders for deceitfully using a misleading image to allege that the BJP government at the centre was brutally assaulting the farmers. However, instead of flagging the spurious image and tweets posted by the Congress leaders, Twitter moved to label Malviya’s tweet instead.
Twitter, however, did not show the same alacrity in branding misleading content posted by Congress leaders. Just recently, Congress IT Cell head Rohan Gupta had shared a cropped video of PM Modi to wrongfully allege that he is endorsing befooling poor, exploiting them for votes. The video was a manipulated clip of PM Modi wherein he was seen elaborating the Congress modus operandi of duping the poor, making false promises to them to remain in power. However, Twitter had then not extended any labels of “misleading content” on his tweet.