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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) criticized Twitter’s algorithm on Sunday, openly wondering why he was receiving suggestions to see tweets from a number of Democratic lawmakers because he follows Republican members of Congress.
Cruz appeared to be trying to highlight complaints by him and other Republicans about perceived bias against them on social media.
“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 wrote, attaching several screenshots.
However, one of his Senate colleagues, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) pointed out something obvious: Twitter’s suggestions to read tweets from Democrats could have been because all of them are members of Congress.
“Could be they are all members of Congress?” Schatz wrote.
Could be they are all members of Congress?— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) June 9, 2019
Cruz responded, asking for the Hawaii senator to try an “experiment.”
“Really, Brian?? You can’t think of any other similarities btwn them? And differences w/ Scalise? Twitter only does this in one DIRECTION. In fact, let’s try this experiment: take a pic of Twitter’s recs to you (a Dem senator) RIGHT NOW. I’ll give $100 if it recs even 2 of 5 Rs,” the Texas senator wrote.
Schatz appeared to have tried it out, telling the senator it showed three Republican lawmakers.
“It had Schumer Blumenthal Mcarthy Meadows Scalise. I think, no snark, it’s just ‘you like following politicians, here are some more politicians,'” he responded to Cruz.
It had Schumer Blumenthal Mcarthy Meadows Scalise. I think, no snark, it’s just “you like following politicians, here are some more politicians.”— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) June 9, 2019
It’s possible that, since Cruz probably follows a number of Republican lawmakers already, there just aren’t as many to show him and not something nefarious.
Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).