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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says social media apps are addictive

In the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that social media tools can be addictive and that tech giants should acknowledge it and make sure that customers are aware of better patterns of usage.

twitter-logoYasmin Ahmed | November 18, 2020 | Updated 15:16 IST

Highlights

  • Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that social media apps can be addictive.
  • Dorsey also said that tech giants should be aware of that, acknowledge it, and make sure that customers aware of better patterns of usage.
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that he has not seen any internal research that points to Facebook being addictive.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday titled Breaking the News: Censorship, Suppression, and the 2020 Election, said that social media apps can be addictive. In a reply to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham's question Dorsey said, "I do think, like anything else, these tools can be addictive. And we should be aware of that, acknowledge it, and make sure that we are making our customers aware of better patterns of usage. The more information the better here."

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that he has not seen any internal research that points to Facebook being addictive and said the platform is not designed that way. "From what I've seen so far, it's inconclusive and most of the research suggests that the vast majority of people do not perceive or experience these services as addictive or have issues. But I do think that there should be controls given to people to help them manage their experience better and this is something that we're very focused on," Zuckerberg said.

Dorsey was also questioned about Twitter's policy on misinformation and why the platform does not have a misinformation policy against climate misinformation by Delaware Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat. Dorsey said, "Misleading information is a huge problem, it's hard to define it completely and cohesively. We wanted to scope our approach to start, to focus on the highest severity of harm."He further noted that Twitter focuses on three areas -- manipulative media, civic integrity around the elections specifically, and public health, specifically around COVID.

Republican Senator Ben Sasse asked Zuckerberg if Facebook has a systemic bias in the execution of content moderation policies given that the employee base "is so unrepresentative of America in general."

Zuckerberg said, "I do think it's undisputed that our employee base, at least the full-time folks, politically would be somewhat or maybe more than just a little somewhat to the left of where our overall community is." He added: "So I do think that that means that we need to be careful and intentional internally to make sure that bias doesn't seep into decisions that we make."

However, he noted that the 35,000 doing content review for the company are typically not from the left-leaning Silicon Valley tech hub. When Zuckerberg was asked why he did not remove a page of Kenosha Guard Militia that led to violent aftermath, he said, "My understanding is that that post did not necessarily violate that call to arms policy at the time."


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