If it’s not bad enough that Facebook is now picking and choosing which news you see in your newsfeed, the most recent undercover video from James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas has revealed exactly how Twitter actively silences conservative users.
Last month, Project Veritas released an undercover video in which Twitter Senior Network Security Engineer Clay Haynes says that Twitter is “more than happy to help the Department of Justice with their little [President Donald Trump] investigation.” They followed up that video with another video featuring eight current and former Twitter employees, who reveal that Twitter silences conservatives through a technique called “shadow banning.”
In the video, Abhinov Vadrevu, a former Twitter Software Engineer, explains shadow banning:
“One strategy is to shadow ban so you have ultimate control. 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.”
In the past, Twitter employees had to use their own liberally biased discretion to manually shadow ban accounts. However, Twitter Software Engineer Steven Pierre revealed that they’re currently working on automating censorship and banning:
“Every single conversation is going to be rated by a machine and the machine is going to say whether or not it’s a positive thing or a negative thing. And whether it’s positive or negative doesn’t (inaudible), it’s more like if somebody’s being aggressive or not. Right? Somebody’s just cursing at somebody, whatever, whatever. They may have point, but it will just vanish… It’s not going to ban the mindset, it’s going to ban, like, a way of talking.”
And, unsurprisingly, the shadow-banning algorithms will be engineered to primarily target right-leaning accounts. According to Twitter Direct Messaging Engineer Parnay Singh:
“Yeah you look for Trump, or America, and you have like five thousand keywords to describe a redneck. Then you look and parse all the messages, all the pictures, and then you look for stuff that matches that stuff.”
When asked if the majority of the algorithms are targeted against conservative or liberal users of Twitter, Singh said, “I would say majority of it are for Republicans.”
Sites like Twitter and Reddit have been touted as being the last forums available where people can truly speak their minds. But, evidently, that’s not the case – only those with the correct ideology are allowed to be seen and heard.
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