For some time now conservatives, along with supporters of President Donald J. Trump, have suspected they were being targeted for censorship by the social media giants such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter.
Thanks to James O’Keefe and his undercover media sting operation Project Veritas, we learned this week that for certain Twitter engineers have been developing algorithms that use “machine learning,” keywords and other techniques to perform “shadow bans” on users who are Trump supporters and Republican voters.
In the video, which consists of several undercover episodes, Abhinov Vadrevu, a former Twitter software engineer, discussed a strategy, called “shadow banning,” that to his knowledge, the social media platform still uses.
“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,” he said. “So they just think that no one is engaging with their content when in reality, no one is seeing it.”
In another segment Twitter Software Engineer Steven Pierre said Twitter was developing automated censorship processes as well as banning, The Daily Caller reported.
“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,” said Pierre. “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 a point, but it will just vanish… It’s not going to ban the mindset, it’s going to ban, like, a way of talking,” he added. (Related: Hate, abuse and fake news: Zuckerberg admits Facebook is broken and contributes to an “anxious and divided” world, says he plans to fix it in 2018.)
Olinda Hassan, a policy manager for Twitter’s Trust and Safety team, explained that the platform’s engineers were developing a system of “down-ranking” “sh*tty people.”
“Yeah. That’s something we’re working on,” said Hassan. It’s something we’re working on. We’re trying to get the sh*tty people to not show up. It’s a product we’re working right now.”
And just who are the sh*tty people? Former Twitter Engineer Conrado Miranda that tools are already being utilized that censor pro-Trump or conservative content. “That’s a thing,” Miranda says when asked about such capabilities.
Also, Twitter Direct Messaging Engineer Pranay Singh said the shadow ban algorithms could be engineered to target right-leaning content specifically.
“Yeah you look for Trump or America, and you have like five thousand keywords to describe a redneck,” Singh explained. “Then you look and parse all the messages, all the pictures, and then you look for stuff that matches that stuff.”
He confirmed: “I would say a majority of it are for Republicans.”
Former Twitter content reviewer Mo Norai said there are “unwritten rules” from top management that permitted them to be harder (censor more) on pro-Trump content.
“Yeah, if they said this is: ‘Pro-Trump’ I don’t want it because it offends me, this, that. And I say I banned this whole thing, and it goes over here and they are like, ‘Oh you know what? I don’t like it too. You know what? Mo’s right, let’s go, let’s carry on, what’s next?’” Norai said. “Twitter was probably about 90 percent Anti-Trump, maybe 99 percent Anti-Trump.”
He added: “A lot of unwritten rules, and being that we’re in San Francisco, we’re in California, very liberal, a very blue state. You had to be… 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.”
Once again O’Keefe and his staff have done yeoman’s work in exposing the disgustingly hard-Left bias of the “mainstream” media and its various social media platforms.
Free speech? Nah. Not if upsets the true fascists and speech Nazis at Twitter and other social platforms.
Here’s what needs to happen: Congress should take up new legislation that prevents this kind of blatant, purposeful censorship — a first amendment for social media, if you will. Otherwise, nothing will change and conservatives will continue to be treated this way online.
Read more of J.D. Heyes’ work at The National Sentinel.