House majority leader Kevin McCarthy joined the bandwagon of accusing social media sites of censoring conservatives, but it turns out he just didn’t understand his own Twitter settings. McCarthy had just posted several tweets accusing the site of unfairly censoring conservative viewpoints when he made the mistake of selecting a screenshot for proof. However, the screenshot only demonstrated a confusion about how Twitter handles complaints about content.
On Thursday, Kevin McCarthy shared his own op-ed claiming that conservatives are unfairly targeted for ‘shadow bans’ and other censorship by social media sites, followed by retweets of other politicians and candidates claiming the same.
On Friday, he tweeted what he framed as proof: a screenshot of a Laura Ingraham post ‘censored’ as sensitive content.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) August 17, 2018
It’s not entirely clear which of Ingraham’s posts McCarthy was seeing as hidden, since the screenshot shows it as, of course, hidden content. However, his post was around 10am eastern time, and the screenshot shows her post as being about 2 hours old at the time. Her post is also shown as being a retweet of another post of her own.
Narrowing it down with that criteria, and assuming that McCarthy tweeted the screenshot within minutes or hours, rather than days, of taking it, the post is likely either this one that describes Sweden as suffering crime waves due to “Middle East migration,” or this one that boasts ‘stunning details’ about the compound where a suspect is accused of training children to carry out shooting attacks on schools.
The former could be marked sensitive due to Twitter’s policy about posts driving racial hatred and stereotyping, and the latter either for the same reasons (with the focus on Islam and immigration status) or for the potentially upsetting details in the story, which include a dead child and descriptions of violence.
Neither tweet was likely marked sensitive, however, for being ‘conservative.’
Moreover, Representative McCarthy seems to have missed some important details. When a tweet is marked hidden due to sensitive content, all a user has to do to see the sensitive content is click on the tweet to confirm an intent to see it. Alternately, as Raw Story points out, a user can go to his own settings, and uncheck the option to have sensitive content hidden.
Of course, the other option is always to assume that someone’s values are being attacked, and demand that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey appear before Congress to explain filtering practices.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) August 16, 2018
Representative Kevin McCarthy seems to have chosen that path, rather than learning how to operate his own Twitter settings. He’s not alone — other conservative politicians are also complaining about censorship, especially in light of Alex Jones’ recent temporary ban for his social media behavior. Even Donald Trump has joined the complaints about censorship, asserting that “too many mistakes are being made” in the decisions about who can participate in a private company’s platform.