‘Inside Facebook and Twitter’s Secret Meetings With Trump Aides and Conservative Leaders Who Say Tech Is Biased’

Tony Romm, reporting for The Washington Post:

Dorsey hoped to use the dinner as a way to build “trust” among conservatives who have long chastised the company, three of the people said. He defended Twitter against accusations that it targeted right-leaning users unfairly but still admitted that the company has room for improvement, according to the attendees.

In response, the Twitter executive heard an earful from conservatives gathered at the table, who scoffed at the fact that Dorsey runs a platform that’s supposed to be neutral even though he’s tweeted about issues like immigration, gay rights and national politics. They also told Dorsey that the tech industry’s efforts to improve diversity — after years of criticism for maintaining a largely white, male workforce — should focus on hiring engineers with more diverse political viewpoints as well, according to those who dined with him in D.C.

Two points on this. First, statistically, you can’t increase the number of non-whites and women without skewing your workforce to the left politically. Look at the exit poll numbers from 2016:

  • Race: Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians went heavily for Clinton, whites went for Trump.
  • Gender: Women went for Clinton, men went for Trump.
  • LGBT voters went for Clinton by 78-14.
  • Education: College grads went for Clinton, non-college grads for Trump.

There’s no way around it: increasing the number of employees who aren’t straight white men is at odds with the notion of increasing the number “with more diverse political viewpoints”, if by “diverse political viewpoints” you mean “people who voted for Trump”. And even among white men, Trump was only +4 among those with college degrees.

Second, how in the world would tech companies go about hiring based on political viewpoints? By asking job candidates who they voted for? That seems like a terrible idea and likely illegal.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018