Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was caught red-handed trolling Congress by tweeting a sarcastic poll during a Big Tech hearing

Jack Dorsey
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

  • Jack Dorsey was called out for tweeting during a congressional hearing about misinformation online.
  • The Twitter CEO tweeted a poll that appeared to mock the simple “yes or no” answers lawmakers demanded.
  • Rep. Kathleen Rice told Dorsey that his “multi-tasking skills are quite impressive.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Twitter boss Jack Dorsey on Thursday was busted tweeting a saracastic poll during a congressional hearing about misinformation on social media platforms.

Lawmakers grilled Dorsey, as well as Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, about their sites’ handling of vaccine misinformation, election fraud claims, and online extremism.

Congress asked the three CEOs to answer “yes or no” to a range of complicated, extensive questions. Lawmakers sometimes interrupted if the CEOs tried to give longer answers.

During the hearing, Dorsey took a jab at the tactic by tweeting a poll that was simply a question mark, asking Twitter users to vote “yes” or “no.”

Read more: Here are some of the potential future CEOs in big tech, and how much they’re currently paid

Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice picked up on Dorsey’s tweet and asked him: “Mr Dorsey, what is winning, yes or no, on your Twitter account poll?”

Dorsey said that “yes” was in the lead. Rice replied: “Hmm, your multitasking skills are quite impressive.”

At the time of publication, the poll has more than 97,000 votes.

While facing Congress, the 44-year-old was also liking tweets that pointed out lawmakers were mispronouncing Pichai’s name, as well as cutting off the CEOs mid-sentence.

Dorsey, who founded Twitter in 2006, confirmed to another Twitter user that he was barefoot in the hearing.

Dorsey also retweeted a Twitter user’s post that said: “It would be awesome if some Member engaged [Jack] in a substantive discussion on Twitter’s ‘protocols’ idea.” Dorsey tweeted about Twitter’s protocols idea before the hearing. He said the company had started working on a decentralized, open-source social media protocol called Bluesky, which could allow users to build their own media platform that is solely owned by them.

Social-media platforms have faced heavy scrutiny over the past year for the way they have policed misinformation during the pandemic, particularly during the presidential election and the Capitol riots. The five-hour long hearing on Thursday was the first time the tech CEOs had faced Congress since President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Twitter said March 1 that it would ban users who repeatedly post misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines on the platform. It also said tweets that contain misleading information would be labeled.

One month before the election, the company said it changed some features to prevent the spread of false political claims, including prompting users to post a comment about a tweet before retweeting it.

Lawmakers in Thursday’s hearing said the changes to the platform didn’t go far enough. They could still easily find anti-vaccine content on both Twitter and Facebook, Rep. Mike Doyle, chair of the House subcommittee on Communications and Technology, said, per CNN.

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Mark Zuckerberg claimed the reason Facebook keeps showing up in Capitol riot lawsuits is because it’s really helpful to police

zuckerberg congress WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 17: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies remotely during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing titled, "Breaking the News: Censorship, Suppression, and the 2020 Election" on Capitol Hill on November 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is also scheduled to testify remotely. (Photo by Hannah McKay-Pool/Getty Images)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before Congress remotely during a Senate hearing on November 17, 2020.

  • Facebook was cited in more legal docs about the Capitol riots than any other social-media platform.
  • Mark Zuckerberg told Congress it’s because Facebook has been cooperating with law enforcement.
  • On Thursday, he also downplayed Facebook’s role allowing misinformation and violence to spread.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a theory about why his company keeps showing up in legal documents surrounding the attempted insurrection on January 6: it’s just doing a really good job helping out with law enforcement’s investigations.

Last month, a report found Facebook was the most-widely referenced social-media platform in court documents used to charge 223 people with crimes in connection with Capitol attacks.

On Thursday, Congress hauled the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter, and Google-parent Alphabet in for a hearing to examine the role social media companies played in amplifying misinformation and allowing extremists to organize, and Zuckerberg was grilled about the report.

Rep. Paul Tonko, a Democrat from New York, asked Zuckerberg whether he still denied Facebook was a “significant megaphone for the lies that fueled the insurrection” amid “growing evidence” suggesting it was, including the charging documents.

“I think part of the reason why our services are very cited in the charging docs is because we worked closely with law enforcement to help identify the people who were there,” Zuckerberg said, adding that such “collaboration” shouldn’t “be seen as a negative reflection on our services.”

Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives have repeatedly downplayed the company’s role in the insurrection. COO Sheryl Sandberg said in mid-January the “Stop the Steal” rally, which immediately preceded the Capitol attacks, “were largely organized on platforms that don’t have our abilities to stop hate, and don’t have our standards, and don’t have our transparency.”

But numerous media and research reports have emerged since then showing that, despite its talk about cracking down, Facebook still allowed misinformation to spread widely and violence-promoting groups to gather.

A report from the research group Avaaz, released this week, found 267 violence-glorifying groups, with a combined audience of 32 million people, had “almost tripled their monthly interactions – from 97 million interactions in October 2019 to 277.9 million interactions in July 2020.”

Avaaz said 188 of those groups remained active despite “clear violations of Facebook’s policies,” and that even after contacting Facebook, the company still let 97 groups continue to use its platform.

Facebook executives have long known its groups-focused features have been a hotbed of extremism. The Wall Street Journal reported in January Facebook’s data scientists told the company 70% of its 100 most active “civic groups” were rife with hate speech, misinformation, bullying, and harassment.

“Our existing integrity systems,” they told executives, according to The Journal, “aren’t addressing these issues.”

Zuckerberg and others at Facebook, such as policy head Joel Kaplan, even killed or weakened projects aimed at stemming the flow of such content, The Journal previously reported.

Yet Zuckerberg this week continued to deny Facebook has a serious issue with how it moderates content.

“There was content on our services from some of [the insurrectionists],” he said. “I think that that was problematic, but by and large, I also think that by putting in place policies banning QAnon, banning militias, banning other conspiracy networks, we generally made our services inhospitable to a lot of these folks.”

So far, the evidence doesn’t appear to support Zuckerberg’s claims.

The Tech Transparency Project said it has been warning Facebook about the surge in far-right groups since last April, but continued to find “numerous instances of domestic extremists discussing weapons and tactics, coordinating their activities, and spreading calls to overthrow the government on Facebook, up to and including the mob attack on the Capitol.”

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