|Wednesday was a stressful day for social media companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter. It is because the chief executives for these companies were grilled by senators about whether social media companies abuse their power.
It all happened two weeks ago when Twitter prevented people from posting links to a critical New York Post investigation about Joe Biden. Therefore, this incident became the last straw for Republicans who think that social media is biased against conservatives.
In this case, Republicans like Senator Ted Cruz believed Twitter would have acted differently if the story was about President Donald Trump.
The conservatives claim bias as they think what they see is an unfair moderation. The conservatives think that social media overly-censored and/or suppressed their posts.
However, it is hard to prove social media is a bias for sure as they don’t reveal all of their data about how their algorithms work.
As a result, the Republicans often use “accusation by anecdote” to protest.
For instance, they notice that Twitter “hid” a tweet President Trump tweeted “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” during a protest in Minneapolis. But it did not hide a tweet calling for armed resistance in Israel. This then proves that Twitter has double standards.
Thoughts of the American public
According to a survey from Pew Research Centre shown that 90% of Republicans believed social media sites censored political view. At the same time, 59% of Democrats have the same point of view.
What about Twitter?
Twitter is quite different from Facebook as only a small minority of its users regularly post content of their own.
A Pew study last week found out that 70% of highly prolific US adult tweeters were Democrats.
This makes it appear to be a more liberal place but once again hard to prove its bias against conservatives.
Here is an example. Twitter has indeed acted on Mr Trump tweets more than Mr Biden’s in terms of topic regarding coronavirus. To illustrate, Twitter blocked Trump’s post from suggesting that the flu was more dangerous than Covid. However, studies suggest Mr Trump is more likely to spread disinformation about Covid.
So, it is not surprising that Twitter targets disproportionately towards Mr Trump.
This is why social media companies would rather not have to moderate their platforms. When you begin to decide what can and what cannot be published, you are starting to make political calls.
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