by Walter W. Murray, reporter
Twitter has rapidly become the go-to source for news, with journalists, commentators, world leaders and more often taking to the social network first with new information.
But now, the company is being accused of secretly trying to skew the flow of that critical information.
And – surprise, surprise – this San Francisco firm is favoring left-wing propaganda over mainstream conservative thought!
They’re not the first company to silence conservative voices. The Horn News reported in Sep. 2016 how email providers are filtering out conservative content.
However, what Twitter is allegedly up to is bad. A stunning new video exposé from conservative provocateur James O’Keefe of Project Veritas claims the company is engaging in censorship in the most deceitful way possible.
It’s using what’s being called a “shadow ban,” or allowing users continue to post… but not actually sending those messages out into the main feed where they can be seen, read, shared and spread. The company denies the allegations.
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“Twitter does not shadow ban accounts,” a spokeswoman told Ars Technica.
However, a former software engineer with the company caught on hidden camera reveals what appear to be shifty tactics aimed at conservatives in general and supporters of President Donald Trump in particular.
“One strategy is to shadow ban so you have ultimate control,” former engineer Abhinav Vadrevu says in the sting video. “The idea of a shadow ban is that you ban someone but they don’t know they’ve been banned because they keep posting and no one sees their content. So they just think that no one is engaging with their content when in reality, no one is seeing it.”
He added that since he’s no longer at the company, he didn’t know if it was still the practice.
“I definitely know Reddit does this,” he said. “But I don’t know if Twitter still does it.”
If this were a single rogue former employee, you might take it with a grain of salt.
But Project Veritas videos released online show multiple people linked to the company discussing ways in which conservatives are silenced.
A second engineer gave details on how the company targets Trump supporters, with software tools that look for certain words and symbols.
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A Second Amendment advocate with a gun symbol… a Christian with a cross… patriots with American flags… all come under scrutiny as a result of their images, words and emojis.
“You look for Trump, or America, and you have like five thousand keywords to describe a redneck,” said an engineer Project Veritas identified as direct messaging engineer Pranay Singh. “Then you look and parse all the messages, all the pictures, and then you look for stuff that matches that stuff.”
Conservatives are demanding answers.
“The purpose of this letter is to ask if censorship of conservative voices is the official policy at Twitter. If not, what steps are you going to take to remedy this situation and release to assuage the public of Twitter’s commitment to free speech?” Brent Bozell, founder and President of the Media Research Center, wrote to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
It’s not clear if Dorsey ever replied.
But the accusations are damning since they show how to silence people the company doesn’t agree with without them ever realizing they’ve essentially been shut down.
“You just sort of turn off all the features for them,” Vadrevu said. “They still see everything, it’s all there. You can like it, favorite it, or you can like retweet, or whatever. But at the end of the day, no one else interacts. No one else sees what you’re doing.”
Twitter continues to deny the allegations.
“We deplore the deceptive and underhanded tactics by which this footage was obtained and selectively edited to fit a pre-determined narrative,” the company told Fox News. “Twitter is committed to enforcing our rules without bias and empowering every voice on our platform, in accordance with the Twitter Rules.”
But are those rules really being enforced equally? Conservatives have long suspected that they aren’t… and now they have strong reason to believe that suspicion was right all along.
— Walter W. Murray is a reporter for The Horn News. He is an outspoken conservative and a survival expert, and is the author of “America’s Final Warning.”