Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks

Representing the 5th District of Indiana
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Bucshon, Brooks Question Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in House Hearing

Sep 5, 2018
In The News

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Social media giants like Facebook and Twitter have been under the microscope of lawmakers on Capitol Hill these last few months.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was questioned by members of committees from both the House and Senate Wednesday. The resounding topic of many questions from those on the House Energy and Commerce Committee was political bias within Twitter, either intention or unintentional.

"We do not use political ideology to make any decisions, whether related to ranking content on our service or how we enforce our rules," Dorsey said to the committee. "Twitter’s purpose is to serve the public conversation."

Democrat Rep. Ben Lujan even asked Dorsey outright if Twitter was involved in a conspiracy of political bias to which Dorsey replied, "I'm not aware of any such conspiracy."

House Democrats have said the notion of political bias being exercised by Internet based companies such as Twitter or Google is a false narrative pushed by congressional Republicans, and that the hearing and possible legislation to crack down on political bias was not necessary.

Indiana Republican Congressman Larry Bucshon quick to assure his counterparts across the aisle that this is not the case.

"I don't see this as particularly partisan. The hearing I think is completely appropriate and relevant to the American people across all political ideologies," Bucshon said to Dorsey. "Ironically, in my view, they're (Democrats) the ones who would most likely want heavy handed government intervention into you industry."

Fellow Hoosier representative Susan Brooks was more focused on the public safety aspects of using Twitter, particularly when it comes to finding and identifying Twitter accounts promoting terrorism. Brooks referenced the passing of Department of Homeland Security and Social Media Improvement Act, which designates a group with DHS for keep you safe when you use social media.

"I'd be curious if you and your team knew about this group or if you'd be willing to assist this group," Brooks asked Dorsey. "There is a public safety social media group that is very focus on this. I think we need to have better interaction between social media platforms and the public safety community."

"I personally was not aware of the group," Dorsey responded. "But I'm sure my team is and we'll definitely consider it." 

Many other questions included how Twitter identifies "bot" accounts, limits the ability of its users to buy illegal drugs, and cracks down on "hate speech."