It’s no secret that the tech overlords of Silicon Valley lean far to the political left, and that includes the CEOs behind social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter.
Both sites have employed tactics to hamper the spread of conservative content. Facebook has modified their algorithm to reduce the frequency of right-wing information that appears in user’s feeds. Any page on Facebook that Facebook decides is sensationalist or misleading can be throttled and will see a 90+% decline in traffic overnight.
Twitter has adopted a similar strategy to censor conservative thought. While banning controversial users (such as Milo Yiannopoulos) generated bad press for the company in the past, they’ve now adopted a policy of “shadow banning” users. To the “shadowbanned”, everything on Twitter looks exactly as it did before – except their posts won’t show up in the feeds of their followers. Essentially, every “shadow banned” user is doing the equivalent of yelling into an empty field whenever they tweet. It also makes the “shadow banned” user’s profile harder to find in searches.
Ironically, this was proven by, among all sources, VICE News. According to their report: “The Republican Party chair Ronna McDaniel, several conservative Republican congressmen, and Donald Trump Jr.’s spokesman no longer appear in the auto-populated drop-down search box on Twitter. It’s a shift that diminishes their reach on the platform — and it’s the same one being deployed against prominent racists to limit their visibility. Democrats are not being “shadow banned” in the same way, according to a VICE News review. McDaniel’s counterpart, Democratic Party chair Tom Perez, and liberal members of Congress — including Reps. Maxine Waters, Joe Kennedy III, Keith Ellison, and Mark Pocan — all continue to appear in drop-down search results. Not a single member of the 78-person Progressive Caucus faces the same situation in Twitter’s search.”
Twitter founder Jack Dowsey responded by playing dumb, responding to the “perception” of shadowbanning. If even the hipster-liberals over at VICE perceived things as such, that’s a pretty good sign that right-wingers really are being censored.
A short thread addressing some issues folks are encountering as a result of our conversational health work, specifically the perception of “shadowbanning” based on content or ideology. It suffices to say we have a lot more work to do to earn people’s trust on how we work. https://t.co/MN97l7w7RF
— jack (@jack) July 25, 2018
Gab, a “free speech” oriented social network called out Jack, pointing out that Twitter’s team doesn’t shy away from their left-wing bias. (RELATED: Twitter Employee Shuts Down Trump’s Twitter Account).
"Parnay Singh, Twitter Direct Messaging Engineer, on machine learning algorithms, “you have like five thousand keywords to describe a redneck…” “the majority of it are for Republicans” @JamesOKeefeIII https://t.co/2insT93q4t
— Gab.ai (@getongab) July 25, 2018
And Trump himself responded to the report earlier this morning:
Twitter “SHADOW BANNING” prominent Republicans. Not good. We will look into this discriminatory and illegal practice at once! Many complaints.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2018
Twitter probably has to listen to him, too.
Due to the immense attention and media coverage Trump’s tweets receive, it’s estimated that he alone adds $2 billion to Twitter’s company value. Every single time the man tweets, Twitter gets a free advertisement on every major (and minor news network) that covers it, and the man tweets A LOT. The “$2 billion” estimate is a year old, so the figure probably has grown since then.
If Facebook’s earnings report last night is any indication, targeting conservatives is not a winning business model. Facebook’s stock hemorrhaged over $125 billion in market value last night…. in 20 periods. While the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica election scandal certainly damaged Facebook this quarter, they’ve also been facing immense criticism (and blow-back from conservatives) for their throttling of right-wing content.
— Jim Hoft (@gatewaypundit) July 25, 2018
Twitter reports earnings tomorrow.
Their stock has been on a tear since the election – but so was Facebook’s. Will they now suffer a similar fate?