Twitter CEO Says Conservative Employees Don’t Feel Safe Expressing Political Viewpoints

Technology

The CEO of social media giant Twitter contends in an interview that many of the company’s employees with conservative-leaning views are afraid to express their opinions.

“We have a lot of conservative-leaning folks in the company as well,” CEO Jack Dorsey told Recode in an interview published Friday. “And to be honest, they don’t feel safe to express their opinions at the company,” he said.

“They do feel silenced by just the general swirl of what they perceive to be the broader percentage of leanings within the company, and I don’t think that’s fair or right,” he added. “We should make sure that everyone feels safe to express themselves within the company, no matter where they come from and what their background is.”

The CEO admitted last month that a left-leaning bias does exist within the company. “We need to constantly show that we are not adding our own bias, which I fully admit is…more left-leaning,” Dorsey told CNN.

“But the real question behind the question is, are we doing something according to political ideology or viewpoints? And we are not. Period,” he contended.

Social media platforms have been facing increasing pressure in recent months over alleged stifling of conservative voices and activity on their platforms, a process known as “shadow-banning.”

Most recently a prominent conservative activist, Alex Jones, was banned from many social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube and Apple Music. Jones, through his news outlet Infowars, espoused conspiracy theories for years such as the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995 and the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting being staged by the government in order to take away individuals’ guns.

Many conservatives see in Jones’ banning a double standard in the policies. Last month a senior Facebook engineer, Brian Amerige, wrote that Facebook was “intolerant of different views” and that “employees are afraid to disagree with the political climate.”

It’s a charge the platforms’ leaders disagree with.

“I want to start by making something clear: we don’t consider political viewpoints, perspectives, or party affiliation in any of our policies or enforcement decisions. Period. Impartiality is our guiding principle,” Dorsey said during a hearing on alleged bias against conservatives in social media by the House Energy and Commerce Committee earlier this month.

Dorsey and others are set to testify in the coming weeks before the Senate Intelligence Committee on the issue of Russian election interference, as well as bias against conservatives.

Photo by JD Lasica via Flickr

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