Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has revealed that those who identify as politically conservative do not “feel safe” to share their opinions at the company.
The comments come amid circulating rumors that the company holds a bias against conservatives who use the platform. Prominent conservatives claim the social media platform “shadow bans” and prevents content from conservative pages from being viewed.
Fox News reports Twitter’s workplace is “ultra-liberal” but the company claims the bias is not reflected in its work.
“We have a lot of conservative-leaning folks in the company as well, and to be honest, they don’t feel safe to express their opinions at the company,” Dorsey said during an interview with New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen.
“They do feel silenced by just the general swirl of what they perceive to be the broader percentage of leanings within the company, and I don’t think that’s fair or right,” he continued. “We should make sure that everyone feels safe to express themselves within the company, no matter where they come from and what their background is. I mean, my dad was a Republican.”
Dorsey went on to describe his own politically diverse environment growing up and said ideological differences between his parents motivated him to challenge both and keep an open mind. The differences also provoked conversation, not stifled it, Dorsey said.
“I always felt safe to challenge both of them, especially my dad, and so it was definitely a privilege, but if we’re creating a culture that doesn’t enable people or empower people to speak up or not, we’re gonna be able to do that for our service,” he added.
In his comments, Dorsey may have unintentionally confirmed the company’s bias. In saying conservatives do not feel safe to express their political affiliation, one could assume it is because conservatives at the company experience backlash or criticism. If the liberals employed at Twitter are ostracizing their own colleagues, then affecting online accounts is not an unimaginable next step.
Here’s more, from Fox News:
Just last week, Dorsey laid out his company’s defense to allegations of anti-conservative bias on its platform and denied that the San Francisco-based company is biased.
“Twitter does not use political ideology to make any decisions, whether related to ranking content on our service or how we enforce our rules. We believe strongly in being impartial, and we strive to enforce our rules impartially,” he said in prepared testimony to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce obtained by Fox News.
Dorsey also denied shadow banning anyone based on political ideology – something Twitter has been accused of in the past. But while Dorsey has denied that the liberal views of his staffers don’t impact Twitter as a product, his latest comments suggest that conservatives have a reason to be skeptical.
Dorsey suggested his company’s transparency should go to some lengths in availing criticisms, but some of the reaction to the interview suggests the opposite.
“I think it’s more and more important to at least clarify what our own bias leans towards, and just express it… I’d rather know what someone biases to rather than try to interpret through their actions,” Dorsey said.
Maybe if @Jack spent more time changing the culture of his company and less on changing the general culture, this wouldn’t be a problem.
— Rounds (@RoundsR) September 14, 2018
Of course they don’t feel safe @Jack …look at where all the violence is coming from…be truthful about it!
— Chris Armstrong (@DameYankee) September 14, 2018
Considering that they tend to get fired when speaking out, yeah.
— Sean Michaels (@SeanMPlace) September 14, 2018
That’s asinine. He’s the CEO, fix it.
— Thom Weller (@WellerThom) September 14, 2018
Ironically I saw the same trend in government starting in 2010; getting worse each year. Saw people squashed for voicing their Center-right thoughts. Balance is needed. @opslens @bmarcois @drewberquist @HappyHourSheena @StephaniScruggs @RobManess @cnblack66 @CRTV @codeofvets
— Ronald Hammond (@RC_Hammond) September 15, 2018
So do something about it. Don’t just admit it and then that makes it ok
— Jennifer Morrow (@jmmorrow5) September 15, 2018
Then Jack needs to fire the people who are responsible. Until he does he’s complicit and as the owner is just as responsible.
— Merri Moon (@merri_116) September 14, 2018