On Wednesday, Vice — hardly a hotbed of conservative or libertarian thought — published a report which said Twitter is “shadow banning” prominent Republicans while leaving progressive Democrats untouched. This didn’t sit too well with Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., one of those being suppressed by the site.
As a result, Gaetz told the Daily Caller he is considering a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
“The evidence is piling up that I am being treated differently on Twitter than people on the political Left and I don’t like that because I enjoy the Twitter platform, I enjoy the engagement, I enjoy the candor,” he said.
“I would think that having won my election with 69 percent of the vote to serve in the Congress that the marketplace of ideas could accommodate my views,” he added.
“I am contemplating a complaint with the FEC, because if my political opponents have better access to the Twitter platform than I do, that’s no different than a private company giving my political opponents access to a billboard or television time or radio time,” Gaetz further said. “That wouldn’t be equal.”
“So I believe that Twitter may have illegally donated to the campaigns of my opponents by prejudicing against my content,” he said.
According to the Daily Caller report:
Gaetz saw his growing Twitter account suddenly lost steam immediately after the algorithm change, he told TheDCNF.
Twitter representatives “keep calling and emailing my office saying that they’re not shadow-banning me, so I guess I can either believe them or my lying eyes,” Gaetz said.
“I’m not an algorithm expert. I can tell you that my office maintains very detailed records of our Twitter engagement, and following the change in their protocols in May, my growth was cut by about 75 percent,” he added.
Six weeks of social media data provided by Gaetz’s office to TheDCNF confirms that his account added followers at a much slower rate in the weeks immediately following the algorithm change.
Gaetz isn’t the only Republican affected by Twitter’s changes, Vice said:
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, VICE News has learned. 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. The profiles continue to appear when conducting a full search, but not in the more convenient and visible drop-down bar. (The accounts appear to also populate if you already follow the person.)
Meanwhile, the report said:
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.
“The notion that social media companies would suppress certain political points of view should concern every American,” McDaniel told Vice in a statement. “Twitter owes the public answers to what’s really going on.”
Twitter did provide an answer — of sorts:
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
We have a one-word response for this, and we’ll let you figure that out for yourself.
Serious questions re "machine learning":
What are your criterion variables?
What are your predictor variables, e.g. "account behavior"?
How do you parse, say, sarcasm or irony?
Define "healthy conversation."https://t.co/q3VaYIYLd5
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) July 25, 2018
Beykpour provided a “response” in a lengthy Twitter thread you can see here, but we want to be clear on one thing — machines only do what human beings tell them to do.
The Daily Caller further noted:
Beykpour did not explain why the Vice investigation found that prominent conservative accounts were suppressed more than liberal accounts.
Several members of legacy media have garnered attention by publicly scaling back their use of Twitter due to its toxicity, adding pressure on Twitter executives to further regulate speech on the platform.
Meanwhile, Twitter’s “explanation” is being seen as “Orwellian.”
"conversational health work" is some next-level Orwellian, famhttps://t.co/i1mU820IgG
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) July 25, 2018
One person noted:
"Conversational health work" sure is a funny way to spell "election manipulation." https://t.co/2J9cUOX9MY
— Mr X Cannot be Hindered by Mortal Man (@NotDeadGlomar) July 25, 2018
Sure looks that way to us. Who needs the Russians when you have Twitter?
Donald Trump Jr., also weighed in:
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 25, 2018
Better yet, they need to simply stop the B.S.
- Updated: Occupy Wall Street advocates murdering ICE agents on Twitter, social media site does NOTHING
- Twitter shuts down C.J. Pearson after claiming he’s 13 years old — He’s actually 15
- Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey caves to liberal hatemongers, now says he was wrong to eat Chick-fil-A
- Democrats violate First Amendment, still block conservatives on Twitter
- Video: Proof that Twitter’s algorithms target Trump supporters
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