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(RNS) — Twitter has dramatically and uniquely shaped the U.S. political ecosystem.
It is inconceivable that Donald Trump could have become president and now control the news cycle without the social media platform. Journalists have an obsession with it, and opinion writers push out their opinions via Twitter if they want their pieces read by political influencers. No serious candidate for major political office would run without first establishing a significant Twitter presence.
Twitter - Utility - Company
If this makes you wonder whether Twitter should be regulated like a public utility rather than a private company, you’re not alone.
To see why this may be necessary, consider that as a private company Twitter has two concerns: (1) making money and (2) reflecting the values of the people who run it.
Moment - Problem - Values - People - Twitter
More on (1) in a moment. The problem with (2) is that the values of the people who run Twitter — like all people — are far from neutral. Tech companies in Northern California, unsurprisingly, have a strongly progressive culture. This had led many Twitter users, especially in the last couple years, to highlight what they believe are signs of significant bias against more conservative viewpoints.
Jack Dorsey, a co-founder and now CEO of Twitter, is a native Midwesterner and understands the moral diversity of the United States better than most in Silicon Valley. I believe he genuinely wants to make Twitter a platform that doesn’t rule, as he has said, “according to political ideology or viewpoints.” But in order to reach his goal of having the largest number of people participate, Dorsey has had to create limits, prohibiting targeted harassment, hateful conduct and promotion of violence.
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Policing all this is a near impossible job, in part because of the sheer number of tweets. In a recent interview with popular podcaster Joe Rogan, Dorsey and Twitter’s legal expert were pushed...
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