Republican Senator Ted Cruz is angry that Twitter suggested tweets from his colleagues and used it as part of his argument that the social media platform is biased against conservatives. Democratic members of Congress are shaking their heads.
“Is it just me or is there something REALLY wrong with Twitter’s algorithms?” Cruz tweeted Sunday. “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?”
Democratic Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii replied simply, “Could be they are all members of Congress?”
Could be they are all members of Congress?
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) June 9, 2019
The simple explanation didn’t cut it for Cruz. He fired back at his fellow senator and claimed that “Twitter only does this in one DIRECTION,” and then placed a bet that he would have no Republican lawmakers in his suggested tweets.
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. https://t.co/1SnQnB6Nlp
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 9, 2019
Schatz checked and had several Republican lawmakers suggested, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, and Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana. “I think, no snark, it’s just ‘you like following politicians, here are some more politicians,'” Schatz wrote.
Cruz didn’t reply.
While Schatz provided a calm, “no snark” explanation, other Democratic lawmakers didn’t have the same patience.
“There must be a strike force of Twitter employees whose sole job is to mess with Senator Cruz,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) tweeted. “Another explanation is that Twitter figures out possible relations between users, since the below are all in Congress or tweet about politics. But that explanation is so boring.”
There must be a strike force of Twitter employees whose sole job is to mess with Senator Cruz.
Another explanation is that Twitter figures out possible relations between users, since the below are all in Congress or tweet about politics. But that explanation is so boring. https://t.co/oFtb7RbNOw
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) June 10, 2019
Cruz does interact with Democrats quite frequently on the platform. Hours before Cruz complained of bias, the senator quote-tweeted Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.
Why must Libs be sour & humorless? Dems have shot relentlessly at Barr (rubber bullets & blanks, to be sure) since his 1st day. Barr makes the droll observation that his arrival felt “like jumping into Sainte-Mère-Église on June 5.” And Dems stamp their feet, ”that’s NOT FUNNY!” https://t.co/tAUFqJQblj
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 9, 2019
Last week, Cruz had a friendly Twitter back-and-forth with Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Cruz also already follows a number of his Democratic colleagues, such as Senators Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) used the tweet as an opportunity to ask for a follow himself.
I don’t know Ted, personally I don’t want algorithms that send me to only people I totally agree with. Why don’t you just follow me – I swear my feed is like 20% gun control 80% funny cat videos. https://t.co/f9Ns6Xa9nw
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) June 9, 2019
“I don’t know Ted, personally I don’t want algorithms that send me to only people I totally agree with,” he tweeted Sunday. “Why don’t you just follow me – I swear my feed is like 20% gun control 80% funny cat videos.”