Over the last couple of years, many people have grown increasingly critical of Twitter. In fact, last September, CEO, Jack Dorsey appeared before US Congress and several Republican representatives suggested that the company had a bias against conservatives. Of course, Dorsey denied this claim, but we want to know if there’s any truth to the claim? As you might have guessed, I’m not exactly pro-conservative myself. That said, however, I am a fan of free speech. Which means, even if I don’t agree with or like what you have to say, I am in favor of that information being presented – regardless of who is saying it. Like Facebook, I believe that Twitter has a responsibility to ensure that hate speech isn’t perpetuated, but if someone wants to say something bad – they have the right to do so – within reason.
What’s interesting is that in an interview with NYU journalism professor, Jay Rosen, Dorsey admitted that most Twitter employees tend to have a left-leaning bias, which has allegedly led to conservative employees who work for Twitter afraid to talk about their opinions. But I could make that statement about my office as well. I don’t know that my conservative colleagues are afraid to talk about their opinions, but conservative opinions aren’t all that popular right now. Which makes me wonder if this is the way it is everywhere? As I said, everyone has the right to say what they think is right, so I’m a bit discouraged to hear this.
Twitter is an immensely popular platform, and now, in India, executives have come together to discuss social media rights for users – specifically as it pertains to bias against those more conservative views. According to a report, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology has asked Dorsey to appear before them on February 25. But what the panel has in mind for Twitter isn’t quite clear. They could ask the company to explain its review process, which verifies that it’s not biased against any particular political leaning. This is what Twitter currently claims, so this wouldn’t be a reaching question. But they could also ask Twitter to establish more ways for addressing complaints about banning users and how they intend to censor content for people in India.
Could this panel ask for Twitter to be banned in India? It’s unlikely as many politicians in the ruling party – the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – and the Prime Minister, all have a sizeable Twitter following. But these folks are right leaning on the political spectrum and are now accusing Twitter of favoring the left.
In a blog post, Twitter has said that it is impartial towards all sides and supports free-flowing conversation. Twitter has also indicated that they will be able to participate in the discussion, but given such short notice, officials from the U.S., won’t be able to travel to attend the hearing.
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