What to expect: Twitter CEO's testimony on transparency, accountability
MANILA, Philippines – Following a congressional hearing with Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and a Google representative, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is set to testify to the US House Energy and Commerce Committee on the social media platform's transparency and accountability initiatives.
On Wednesday, September 5, at 1:30 pm EST (September 6, 1:30 am Manila time), Dorsey will discuss the social media platform's algorithms and the way it moderates its content.
While there will likely be some technical discussions during the testimony, Dorsey may face some tough questions from the House.
As a social media platform, Twitter is caught in a dilemma: either it gets flak for hate content remaining on the service, or it gets criticized for removing the content – likely as a perceived affront to free speech or as a show of what US President Donald Trump would call political bias.
For the most part, this also means the Republican House Majority will likely be asking questions pertaining to Twitter censorship of conservative voices on the platform – such as the temporary suspension of far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Applying the rules
Jack Dorsey's testimony will also likely be scrutinized from an administrative viewpoint.
The Wall Street Journal on September 3 released a report with a source saying Dorsey reportedly told one person he had overruled a decision to kick Alex Jones off Twitter, though this may have occurred before Jones' eventual 7-day suspension from the service.
A similar discussion apparently took place during Twitter's 2016 suspensions of white supremacist accounts, including that of Richard Spencer, who operated multiple Twitter accounts. According to a person involved in the discussions, Dorsey reportedly told his team Spencer should be allowed to keep an account on Twitter and remain on the site.
Twitter's chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde released a statement regarding the Wall Street Journal report, saying "Any suggestion that Jack made or overruled any of these decisions is completely and totally false."
He added, "Our service can only operate fairly if it’s run through consistent application of our rules, rather than the personal views of any executive, including our CEO."
Tune in to Rappler on September 6, 1:30 am PH time as we watch the House Energy and Commerce Committee's "Twitter: Transparency and Accountability" hearing with CEO Jack Dorsey. – Rappler.com