UPDATE: Project Veritas published more undercover footage of Twitter engineers yesterday bragging that they can read “everything you post online” including direct messages. Twitter shot back that they do not “proactively review” direct messages. A Twitter spokesperson said the information is only available to “a limited number of employees.” As well, Twitter claims to enforce “strict access protocols” for those who do have access. And the beat goes on…
Are conservatives under siege in America? That is a question that must be asked as more troubling information surfaces about a few very powerful digital platforms that appear to be systematically suppressing conservative voices throughout the internet.
Facebook has fielded its share of accusations on this count. Now it’s Twitter’s turn as Project Veritas turned its hidden cameras on several current and former Twitter Engineers. And what they found is disturbing, to say the least:
Project Veritas: So, if someone has Trump in the name or conservative or America First – you can just write an algorithm for that?
Yeah, that’s exactly how you do it.
Project Veritas: Is a majority of the algorithms against conservatives or liberals?
I would say a majority of it are for Republicans, because they’re all from Russia and they wanted Trump to win…”
Pranay Singh, Direct Messaging Engineer, Twitter
Considering almost 63M people voted for Donald Trump, that constitutes a lot of Russians who voted in the U.S. presidential election. And to think that they are spread all over the Midwest? Perhaps this section of America shouldn’t be nicknamed “fly-over country” but rather Little Moscow? Beyond the sarcasm lies a deeply ominous and rather unnerving policy of using technology to silence political speech – specifically conservative political speech. This is apparently accomplished with a set of algorithms known as “shadow-banning”:
James O’Keefe – Project Veritas
“One strategy is to shadowban so that 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, but no one sees their content…at the end of the day, no one else interacts…No one else sees what you’re doing. So, all that data is just thrown away. It’s risky though.”
Project Veritas: Why is it risky?
Because people will figure that s*** out and be like…You know, it’s a lot of bad press if, like, people figure out that you’re like shadow banning them. It’s like, unethical in some way.”
Adhinav Vadrevu, Former Software Engineer
Engineers told undercover journalists from Project Veritas that this technique isn’t exclusive to Twitter and that he “knows REDDIT does it.” Engineer Pranay Singh claimed the U.S. Government is behind some of these requests. Singh says that pressure is applied to Twitter by “The U.S. Government” to close down President Trump’s account, “ because they don’t like people messing with their politics, and he has s*** on a lot of people.” Singh did not clarify who in the U.S. Government is “in charge” of politics for the nation.
Meanwhile, back at the Twitter ranch, Mo NorI, Former Content Review Agent for Twitter claimed there are myriad ways to prioritize, block or mute tweets through sophisticated digital procedures:
“[There are] a lot of unwritten rules an being that we are in San Francisco, we’re in California, very liberal, a very blue state. I mean as a company you can’t really say it because it would make you look bad, but behind closed doors are lots of rules.”
These “rules” sound an awful lot like censorship. And we are not the only ones who think so. Over the weekend, Media Research Center Founder and President L. Brent Bozell put out a little missive to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey requesting an explanation:
“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?”
Although it’s unclear whether Dorsey responded to Mr. Bozell, a Twitter spokesman went on offense in this Fox News Report:
“We deplore the deceptive and underhanded tactics by which this footage was obtained and selectively edited to fit a pre-determined narrative. Twitter is committed to enforcing our rules without bias and empowering every voice on our platform, in accordance with the Twitter Rules.”
When in doubt accuse the accuser. All this serves to make the average conservative more than a bit paranoid that they live in a highly politically censored atmosphere. And while Twitter or Facebook or even REDDIT for that matter are private companies, there are very few similar alternatives in the marketplace that command as potent a market share.
This means that our conservative voices – whether by man or machine – are under siege in America. And that, dear readers, is worrisome, to say the least.