No matter what social networking and technology companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google or Apple claim, it has become quite clear that all these companies have clear-cut political stands. You can indirectly see that in the way they take decisions based on the country of their operations and you can see it directly the way they support their preferred political candidates.
While in America, Apple is all about vouching for personal liberties and hence can even refuse the FBI to hand over details of the iPhone of a terrorist [Read: Apple won’t help the FBI catch a terrorist, but provides the same sort of help to takedown a torrent website] but while working in China, it can easily look the other way while all sorts of human rights violations happen. Similarly, most of these companies allegedly have big investments from Saudi billionaires while indescribable human rights violations happen in Saudi Arabia and other countries where these billionaires live.
Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if Twitter refused to run Donald Trump’s advertising campaign, as it is explained in this Medium blog post by Donald Trump’s director of digital advertising, Gary Coby. Gary directly names the Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey for restricting the advertising for Donald Trump’s campaign on Twitter.
In Twitter advertising campaigns companies and organisations can create their own hashtags and even emojis. The Trump campaign managers had created, for example the #CrookedHillary campaign along with an emoji showing a hand receiving a bag of money. The $5 million deal was formalized and the campaign was cleared by the legal team at Twitter. Gary says in the blog post that Jack Dorsey personally got involved and Twitter refused to run the campaign. This is the portion where he talks about how Jack Dorsey directly killed the campaign:
- My internal TW contacts informed me that on Thursday night, 10/6, TW CEO, Jack Dorsey, personally killed the emoji and notified his senior staff.
- I asked if “There’s going to be another BS legal reason like last time” and they responded, “No, Jack just killed it, there isn’t one.” They were shocked that this was happening.
This is one of the campaigns that Twitter or Jack Dorsey refused to run on the platform:
The problem isn’t that these companies take political sides, the problem is that they pretend to be neutral when they are not neutral. In India it has been repeatedly seen that mostly those Twitter handles are suspended that come from political and ideological backgrounds that might be different from the political and ideological backgrounds of people managing Twitter. The same seems to happen with Facebook. Check Google News and you will see that there are only particular newspapers that feature there. So, even if you are a little bit aware of what’s going on around you, you can easily make out that all the social networking and technology companies take political stands more aggressively than they would like to admit.