Bias, drugs and bots: Congress questions Twitter and Facebook
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Bias, drugs and bots: Congress questions Twitter and Facebook

-We don’t consider
political viewpoints, perspectives, or party affiliation
in any of our policies or enforcement decisions,
period. -But privacy and advertising
are not at odds. In fact, they go together. When people share information
with us, we do not give it to advertisers
without their permission. We never sell data. And they have control
over the information we use. -Mr.
Dorsey, within the last hour, here’s an add
for cocaine on Twitter. It’s still up, and it goes on. And it — it says that,
you know, not only from that — on that site,
they can buy cocaine, heroin, meth, ecstasy, Percocet. I would be ashamed
if I were you. -What worries me is that this is
all part of a campaign by the GOP and the right wing
to “work the refs,” complaining of nonexistent bias
to force an overcorrection, which then can result
in some actual bias going in the other direction. -If somebody wrote an algorithm
with a bias against conservatives, I would hope you are trying
to find out who those people are and if they’re using
their person viewpoints to discriminate
against certain people, ’cause if it’s your stated
intention that you don’t want that
discrimination to take place, I would hope that
you would want to know if there are people working for
Twitter that did have that kind of discriminatory
viewpoint against conservatives, that you would at least
hold them accountable so that it doesn’t happen again. -I would want to know that,
and I assure you that the algorithm was
not written with that intention. Once you have
taken down accounts that are linked to Russia —
these impostor accounts — what do you do to notify
the followers of those accounts that they have been following
or engaged in accounts
that originated in Russia and are not
what they appear to be? -Thank you for the question.
We simply haven’t done enough. -Finding the line between what
is hate speech and what is misinformation
is very, very difficult, especially if you’re dedicated
to expressing free expression. And sometimes free expression
is expressing things you strongly disagree with. In the case of misinformation,
what we do is we refer it
to third-party fact checkers. We don’t think we should be
the arbiter of what’s true and what’s false, and we think
that’s really important. Third-party fact checkers
then mark it as false. If it’s marked as false, we dramatically decrease
the distribution on our site. We warn you if you’re about
to share it. We warn you
if you have shared it. And importantly, we show related
articles next to that so people
can see alternative facts. The fundamental view
is that bad speech can often be countered
by good speech. Do you consider
President Trump’s tweets to be amusing or harmful at all? -We hold every account
to the same standards and consistency
of our enforcement. We do have a clause
within our Terms of Service that allows for public interest and understanding
of public interest per tweet. And you know, we definitely weigh that
as we consider enforcement. -This is a pro-life,
conservative Congressional staffer on a work computer whose search history
definitely doesn’t lean left. All they entered
was an e-mail address and a 202-area-code
phone number, yet here’s who Twitter
suggested they follow. And you’ll see it on the screen. Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris,
John Dingell, Chuck Schumer, John Kerry,
Ben Rhodes, David Axelrod, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jim Acosta,
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. -I think it was just looking
at the 202 as a DC number and then taking DC-based
accounts and the most followed, probably, or most
engaged with DC accounts. -I mean, the Russian trolls
created thousands of bots to influence our democracy,
our elections. They’re doing it in other
countries across the world. Do you feel like you have
a handle on these bots? You said,
earlier in your testimony, you ID 8 million to
10 million accounts per month. Is that right?
-Per week. -Per week?
-And to thwart over a half million accounts from logging
in every single day. -Can Twitter keep up?
-We’re — We intend to keep up.


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