Is Twitter curbing access to certain political voices?
WASHINGTON (SBG) - Plenty are applauding the stock market these days, but Facebook and Twitter may not be among them.
Both have been down in the last week, as more complaints pour in about content and accusations of behind-the-scenes manipulation on what you see on your feeds -- most recently, from a handful of conservatives claiming their Twitter handles no longer popped up automatically in searches.
"Look, I understand that my politics aren’t for everyone, but certainly a member of Congress who got 69 percent of the vote in his district ought to be able to contribute to the marketplace of ideas," said Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.
Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said, "I don’t know what Twitter’s up to; it sure looks to me like they’re censoring people."
The Republican national chairwoman is among those temporarily affected, only months after the tech giants faced grillings on Capitol Hill, promising improvements.
"Twitter and Facebook know that people are watching them ... why now is it that these prominent Republicans have been blocked?" said Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany. "It's, as I say, very curious."
Twitter says it's since fixed the problem, insists some Democrats were also affected, and admitted to a flaw with its algorithms, not partisanship.
But the concerns do cross party lines, and this week, Republicans and Democrats will hold a Senate Intelligence hearing into foreign influence on social media.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., released a set of ideas to be debated, like federal funding to help consumers know exactly what they're looking at, require companies to clearly identify "bots" or computer-generated accounts, and make social media companies liable for certain claims of defamation.
"It is becoming a huge problem that's influencing our democratic process," said Sam Lester with the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "And I think that individuals should have a right to know why they’re being targeted."