WASHINGTON – Twitter Inc.’s chief executive will testify before a U.S. House of Representatives committee on Sept. 5, the panel said Friday, after some Republicans raised concerns about social media companies removing content from conservatives.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee “intends to ask tough questions about how Twitter monitors and polices content,” Republican Rep. Greg Walden, the panel’s chairman, said in a statement.
“We look forward to Mr. Dorsey being forthright and transparent regarding the complex processes behind the company’s algorithms and content judgment calls,” Walden said.
On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump accused social media companies of silencing “millions of people” in an act of censorship, but without offering evidence to support the claim.
“Social Media Giants are silencing millions of people. Can’t do this even if it means we must continue to hear Fake News like CNN, whose ratings have suffered gravely. People have to figure out what is real, and what is not, without censorship!” Trump wrote on Twitter, not mentioning any specific companies.
Trump also criticized social media outlets last week, saying without providing proof that unidentified companies were “totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices.”
Those tweets followed actions taken by Apple Inc., Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube to remove some content posted by Infowars, a website run by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Jones’ Twitter account was temporarily suspended on Aug. 15.
On Tuesday, Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet removed hundreds of accounts tied to an alleged Iranian propaganda operation, while Facebook took down a second campaign it said was linked to Russia.
The Republican president in recent weeks has expressed concern about the companies’ actions. In an interview with Reuters on Monday, Trump said it was “very dangerous” for social media companies like Twitter and Facebook to silence voices on their services.
U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia tried to influence the 2016 presidential election by hacking and other actions, including using social media in an influence campaign.
When asked about Trump’s allegations of censorship, Twitter pointed to the three hours of sworn testimony that its head of public policy strategy, Nick Pickles, recently gave to a House of Representatives committee. He said claims that Twitter is banning conservative voices “are unfounded and false” and that it works to define and act upon “bad conduct, not a specific type of speech.”
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