Reps. Coleman, Cleaver Push Jack Dorsey on Twitter’s Issues With Racism, Russia

Coleman and Cleaver urged Dorsey to 'clearly outline' what efforts Twitter has made to detect Russian operatives’ accounts

Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) wrote Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey - Credit by uschools/iStock
Headshot of David Cohen

Two members of Congress penned a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Tuesday expressing concerns over the spread of racism on the platform.

Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) said in the letter to Dorsey (embedded below) that they were concerned about Twitter and other social media platforms “being used for the purpose of propagating hate and undermining democracy.”

They cited the use of Twitter accounts by Russian operatives to sway the results of the 2016 presidential elections in the U.S., as well as the fact that people “feel comfortable sharing racist ideologies” on the social network.

Coleman and Cleaver urged Dorsey to “clearly outline” what efforts Twitter has made to detect the Russian operatives’ accounts, security measures that have been enacted to prevent further abuses and the reporting process by which the government and the public will be informed about such issues.

The two representatives threatened “increased regulations and government oversight of this industry” if the issues they mentioned were not addressed, adding, “In this constantly evolving technological environment, we believe that it is incumbent on Twitter to be proactive in seeking out solutions to combat the racial animus that is being spread on your social networking platform. We strongly urge Twitter to take immediate action to identify and suspend Twitter accounts and automated bots that are being used to spread racist and violent behavior.”

They continued, “Further, Twitter has a responsibility to help guard against actions of foreign governments to undermine our democracy and cause cultural divisions in our country. We rely on Twitter to adopt common-sense measures to hold these account-holders accountable, with consequences for sharing hateful and violent messages that put the lives of Americans at risk and meddle in our democracy.” David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.