Twitter CEO: Conservatives ‘Don’t Feel Safe to Express Their Opinions’ at Firm

September 14th, 2018 1:20 PM

Even though Twitter apparently promotes “healthy conversation,” conservatives who work there are afraid to express their opinions.

In an interview on NYU liberal journalism Professor Jay Rosen’s podcast, posted on Recode, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey explained how he felt about where Twitter stood politically as a platform. When Rosen asked about Twitter identifying as primarily left-leaning, Dorsey said, “we have a lot of conservative-leaning folks in the company as well.” But then he admitted that perhaps the culture at Twitter was not created to be a safe space for conservatives. “To be honest, they don’t feel safe to express their opinions at the company,” he told Rosen.

Rosen countered by saying, “Do you ever feel like saying to your conservative employees, ‘Look. Speak up. You might get criticized … we’re not going to penalize you, but you are, to some degree, when you speak up in public or in a public culture of a company, you are, yes, vulnerable to criticism, vulnerable to reaction.” Dorsey said this was “easier said than done.”

Dorsey commented that this state of affairs wasn’t “right,” saying:

“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. 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.”

When Rosen tried to say that Twitter was “impartial” and “neutral,” Dorsey corrected him: “Not neutral.”

Rosen then tried to clarify Dorsey’s statement, saying “We’re impartial, but we’re not saying that we don’t have any points of view, or that we don’t have our own culture. We do.”

Dorsey admitted that “I personally have not tended to have conversations with many people in a more conservative end of the spectrum or right end of the spectrum.” However, he then tried to say that conversations with conservatives are not “fundamentally different” than conversations with liberals over Twitter.  

In the Congressional hearing on September 5, Dorsey denied any conservative censorship repeatedly. Conservatives have had many complaints about being unfairly censored, suspended, or banned on Twitter. Republican members of Congress and the RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel were “shadowbanned” on Twitter’s search bar.