Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) took to the House floor on Tuesday where he complained that social media platforms were being biased against conservatives and that they weren’t getting enough traction compared to liberal posts.
While talking with assorted experts on artificial intelligence and algorithms, Johnson said that he had his staff members go to Politico’s Instagram account and record what other recommendations the app gave to them after following it.
According to Johnson, the vast majority of recommendations that came back were for news websites like the Washington Post or progressive outlets like Huffington Post, and none were for right-wing websites such as Breitbart.
It seems that Johnson doesn’t understand how social media works. So Dr. Stephen Wolfram, the founder and chief executive officer of Wolfram Research, decided to teach Johnson a lesson. Dr. Wolfram noted that the reason Johnson saw those recommendations was that those followers were more likely to follow neutral or progressive political news websites in the first place.
“The thing that will happen is, if there’s no other information, it will tend to be just where the most content that people on the platform in general have clicked,” he said. “It may be a statement, in that case — I’m really speculating — that the users of that platform tend to like those things.”
Johnson then switch his initial complaint and decided to whine that many right-wing articles were being silenced by social media feeds.
Ms. Rashida Richardson, the director of policy research at the AI Now Institute, then informed Johnson that many of those removals came because those articles contained demonstrably false information.
“That’s more of a content moderation issue,” she said.
“OK, anyway,” Johnson replied.
Take a look at the video clip below: