Sen. Mazie Hirono: ‘Claims of Anti-Conservative Bias in the Tech Industry Are Baseless’

By Melanie Arter | July 17, 2019 | 2:29pm EDT
(Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

( - Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) used her opening statement at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing Tuesday on Google and censorship through search engines to condemn the focus of the hearing, claiming that “claims of anti-conservative bias in the tech industry are baseless.”

“The calendar says it’s July 16th, but it feels like Groundhog Day in the United States Senate. A little more than three months ago, this subcommittee held a hearing to explore allegations of anti-conservative bias in the tech industry. My friends on the other side were critical of witnesses from Facebook and Twitter. They claimed a vast conspiracy to silence conservative voices,” Hirono said.


“After listening to some of the comments from that hearing, you might think that some liberal mastermind sits at the controls of those platforms looking at 510,000 Facebook posts and 350,000 tweets posted every minute and removes anything that might align with the Republican Party platform,” she said.

“I repeat now what I said then. Claims of anti-conservative bias in the tech industry are baseless. Study after study has debunked suggestions of political bias on the part of Facebook, Google, and Twitter,” the senator said.



Hirono cited studies showing that there was no such bias by tech companies, including one an analysis of Facebook censorship by the left-leaning Media Matters, which claims on its website that it is dedicated to “correcting conservative misinformation” in the media.

“In June of this year, the economists released the findings of a yearlong analysis that ran on search results on Google’s news tab. It found no evidence that Google biases its results against conservatives. In April, Media Matters completed a 37-week study into alleged conservative censorship on Facebook. They found that right-leaning pages actually outperformed left-leaning pages in terms of overall interactions with users,” the senator said.

“Earlier this year, Twitter performed a 5-week analysis of tweets sent by all members of the House and Senate. They found no statistically significant difference between the number of times a tweet by a Democratic member is viewed as compared to a tweet by a Republican member,” she said.

Hirono claimed that tech companies are so afraid of being “tarred as biased” that they are “hesitant to deal with the real problems of racist and harassing content on their platforms.”

“According to a report by Vice, Twitter is afraid to use the proactive algorithmic approach it uses to remove ISIS-related content to rid the platform of white supremacist content. The reason? Twitter is afraid it might also catch content posted by Republican politicians,” the senator said.

Hirono claimed that instead of focusing on social media bias, the subcommittee should be focused on “real problems,” like pedophiles’ use of YouTube to distribute child pornography.

“Browbeating the tech industry for a problem that does not exist also draws attention away from the real problems with Google and other tech companies,” the senator said.

“Last month, a New York Times investigation found that YouTube’s recommendation engine served as a roadmap for pedophiles to find videos of younger and younger girls, sometimes as young as five or six years old. That followed a wire report on the way pedophiles use the comment section of YouTube videos to identify and share videos of children,” she added.

“A recent Wall Street Journal investigation found that YouTube is overrun by videos pushing fake claims for cancer cures. This is after YouTube stoked the flames of anti-vax movement to the point that measles has returned to this country. Another New York Times feature documented the radicalization of a young man who followed YouTube’s recommended videos down an alt-right rabbit hole,” Hirono said.



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