Social Media platform Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey while appearing in front of a U.S. Congressional committee, admitted that hundreds of thousands of accounts had been "filtered," but claims that it was the result of a software error and not intentional.
Dorsey is appearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee of the U.S. Congress to explain what was being done at the company to curb foreign electoral interference on the platform. During his hearing, Dorsey was also questioned by senators over allegations that Twitter censors accounts who were pro-Republican Party.
Dorsey in his opening statement in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said, “In the spirit of accountability and transparency: recently we failed our intended impartiality. Our algorithms were unfairly filtering 6,00,000 accounts, including some members of Congress, from our search auto-complete and latest results. We fixed it.”
The Twitter boss went on to explain that the filtering occurred due to an algorithm that looks at how followers of the shadow banned accounts behaved on the platform. In other words, if followers of X showed a tendency to be trolls, X's tweets would be filtered by the algorithm. But, this is an unfair measure enforced upon the account holder who has no control over how his or her followers behave.
Several Republicans, including U.S. President Donald Trump, have accused Twitter of political bias, which the company denies. "Twitter does not use political ideology to make any decisions, whether related to ranking content on our service or how we enforce our rules," said Dorsey.
Allegations of censorship were fuelled when Twitter added a "quality filter" to the platform and its search results. Some users noticed that their tweets no longer appeared in search results and suggested that their content was being hidden, known as a "shadow ban".
The U.S. Department of Justice said it would investigate "growing concern that these companies may be hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas on their platforms".