Greg Pence Slams Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey About Selectively Enforcing Twitter’s Policies
Columbus, IN – U.S. Congressman Greg Pence (IN-06) participated in a joint House Energy and Commerce hearing with the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology and Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce. The joint hearing was with Big Tech companies Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Rep. Pence questioned Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey about Twitter selectively enforcing its policies, saying that many of his constituents in Indiana’s Sixth District have a growing mistrust for social media platforms.
Read the full exchange below:
Pence: Thank you, Chairs Doyle and Schakowsky, and Ranking Members Latta and Bilirakis for holding this joint subcommittee hearing. And thank you to the witnesses for appearing before us today. The extent to which your platforms engulf our lives is reminiscent to the all-encompassing entities we’ve seen over the past century. In the early 1900’s, Standard Oil had a monopoly in over ninety percent of our country’s refining business. By the 1970’s, if you used the telephone, it was going to be “Ma Bell” system. In each instance you could choose not to use either product, but participation in society demanded that you used both. In a similar sense it is difficult, if not impossible, to participate in society today without coming across your platforms and using them. We could choose not to use them, but like oil and telecommunications, it’s considered essential and so many other people do use it.
Even the government has become an equal contributor. Each Member of Congress and every Senator is all but required to use your platforms to communicate with their constituents while we’re in Washington D.C. I know you understand that your platforms have a responsibility to act in good faith for Hoosiers and all Americans. Unfortunately, regularly , my Facebook and Twitter accounts, like many of my peers and other people I know, are littered with hateful and nasty arguments between constituents that stand in complete opposition to the ideas of “civil discourse” that your platforms claimed to uphold and that you reference today. I’m sure you are aware that official government accounts have restrictions that significantly limit our ability to maintain a platform that is a productive resource of information to the public. They have essentially become a micro town hall - without a moderator - on social media.
I agree with all your testimonies that a trust deficit has been growing over the past several years, and as some of you have suggested, we need to do something about it now. The way in which you manage your platforms in an inconsistent manner, however, has deepened this mistrust and devolves the public conversation. My constituents in Southeastern Indiana have told me that they are increasingly mistrustful of your platforms given how you selectively enforce your policies.
Here’s just a few examples of how this has occurred:
- Members of the Chinese Communist Party have verified Twitter accounts to regularly peddle false and misleading claims surrounding the human rights violations we know are occurring in Northern China.
- Twitter gives the Supreme Leader of Iran a megaphone to proclaim derogatory statements endorsing violence against the U.S. and Western culture.
- Twitter accounts associated with the Supreme Leader have called Israel “a cancerous tumor” and call for the eradication of the “Zionist regime.” This happens as he also bans the service for his own people to restrict their free expression.
Mr. Dorsey, clearly you need to do more to address content that violates your policies.
I have two questions for you: Why is the Chinese Communist Party allowed to continue the use of your platform after publicly pushing propaganda to cover up human rights abuses against Muslims in Northern China? And two, why does the Supreme Leader of Iran still have a platform to make threats against Israel and America?
Dorsey: Um, so first and foremost we do label those Chinese accounts so that people have context as to where they’re coming from. That’s on every single tweet so that people understand the source – we think that’s important. We are reviewing our world leaders policy. We’re actually taking public comment review right now. So, we’re enabling anyone to give us feedback-
Pence: If I may interrupt you quickly, Mr. Dorsey, on that very point, you know Iran has been supporting Hezbollah and it’s not just saber-rattling, as you’ve made the statement, or your company has made the statement. They have done serious damage to whole countries and people. And as I served in the military, they killed hundreds of Marines many years ago. So, I don’t know what you have to study about this. Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Congressman Greg Pence represents Indiana’s 6th District. From Columbus, Indiana, Pence advocates for conservative Hoosier values as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.