Tech

Dems Jump All Over Ted Cruz After He Points Out An Oddity In Twitter’s Algorithm

REUTERS/Mike Segar

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Chris White Tech Reporter

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz suggested Sunday afternoon that Twitter’s algorithm was malfunctioning because it was directing him to follow Democrats in Congress.

“Is it just me or is there something REALLY wrong with Twitter’s algorithms? Because I follow Steve Scalise and several other GOP members of Congress, I get recommended tweets from Ted Deutch … Sheldon Whitehouse … Steve Cohen … Chuck Schumer … and Chris Murphy?” Cruz said in a tweet. The Texas senator was referring to a handful of his Democratic colleagues.

Democrats and liberal activists mocked his concern throughout the day. One of his colleagues, Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, for instance, replied to Cruz and asked a question of his own: “Could be they are all members of Congress?”

Cruz dismissed the question in a follow-up tweet and noted that the company’s recommendations are flowing in one “DIRECTION.”

Other activists jumped into the heap. Oliver Willis, a former writer at Media Matters for America, retweeted Cruz and suggested Twitter was likely recommending he follow people who share similarities with Texas Republican. MSNBC producer Kyle Griffin made a similar observation.

An illustration picture shows the Twitter logo reflected in the eye of a woman in Berlin. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

“You are a member of Congress and the algorithm is suggesting other members of Congress. That seems pretty straightforward,” Griffin wrote in a tweet replying to Cruz’s initial tweet questioning Twitter’s algorithm. (RELATED: Twitter Algorithm Buried Republicans For Something Totally Out Of Their Control)

Cruz’s tweets come as conservatives grow more critical of big tech companies. Several Republican congressmen’s Twitter accounts were suppressed in July 2018 because users that Twitter was suppressing at the time engaged with the congressmen’s handles, media reports show.

Twitter executives Vijaya Gadde and Kayvon Beykpour conceded in a blog post at the time that Twitter’s algorithm had limited the Republican congressmen’s visibility on the site because it linked them to what the company calls “bad-faith actors.”

Cruz and his Republican colleague, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, have criticized Twitter, Google and Facebook, among others, for supposedly suppressing conservative content and violating privacy data norms.

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