July 8, 2020 / 10:46 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Republicans renew complaints Twitter stifles president, conservatives

(Adds Twitter confirmation)

WASHINGTON, July 8 (Reuters) - Two U.S. Republican lawmakers accused Twitter on Wednesday of being biased against conservatives and demanded information about the social media platform's reactions to two tweets by President Donald Trump.

Representatives Jim Jordan and James Sensenbrenner, in a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, said Twitter's content moderation was not neutral and that it more often took aim at conservatives.

"Twitter’s discrimination against conservative voices is extremely alarming. These actions give rise to concerns that the company is systematically engaged in the disparate treatment of political speech and is deceiving users of the platform by not uniformly applying its terms of service," they wrote.

The two men complained in particular about Twitter's decision in late May to "fact check" Trump's assertion linking mailed ballots with voter fraud. Twitter at the time said in a statement that it had added a label to two Trump tweets because they "could confuse voters."

They also objected to Twitter's treatment of a Trump tweet saying he would use "serious force" to keep protesters from creating an autonomous zone in Washington, D.C. Twitter said the tweet violated a policy against abusive behavior but did not take it down.

The lawmakers also accused a Twitter official, whom they did not name, of using insulting language to talk about the president and a White House official.

A Twitter spokesman confirmed the company received the letter, but declined to comment further.

The two representatives asked Twitter to provide an accounting of content moderation decisions affecting Americans in the past year, as well as documents and communications regarding Twitter's treatment of the Trump tweets.

Jordan is the top Republican on the Democrat-controlled House Judiciary committee and Sensenbrenner is the top Republican on its antitrust subcommittee. (Reporting by Diane Bartz; Additional reporting by Katie Paul; Editing by Dan Grebler and Leslie Adler)

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