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Nets Uninterested in Twitter ‘Shadow Banning’ Conservatives on Twitter [UPDATED]

Nets Uninterested in Twitter ‘Shadow Banning’ Conservatives on Twitter [UPDATED]

UPDATE, 9:38 p.m.: Below the original blog is Twitter's official explanation on the topic of "shadow banning" released late Thursday

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The liberal media love to pretend that their news cycles are dictated entirely by President Trump’s Twitter feed. It’s their number one excuse when average Americans complain they’re not covering other and arguably more important topics. But oh how quickly their fascination with his account fades when he mentions something they'd rather keep hidden. For Thursday’s evening broadcasts on ABC, CBS, and NBC, it was Twitter allegedly “shadow banning” conservative accounts.

Where the broadcast networks failed, Fox News Channel’s Special Report dove right in. “Today, the President, whose Twitter account helped get him elected, wrote: ‘Twitter ‘shadow banning’ prominent Republicans, not good. We will look into this discriminatory and illegal practice at once. Many complaints,” reported correspondent Peter Doocy.

The term “shadow ban” refers to the alleged practice of keeping an account from being easily searched for or generally viewed. Shadow banning was supposedly done to stem the spread of certain ideas and thoughts (in this case conservative ones) without the negative publicity of outright disabling and purging accounts on a massive scale.

“Congressman Matt Gaetz is one of the Republicans whose Twitter handle was hidden for months from some curious users searching for him. Type his name, and he didn't pop up,” Doocy noted. “The conservative shadow ban appears to have been fixed this morning for the first time since May, when Twitter announced it would crackdown on trolls contributing to an unhealthy of dialogue.”

Doocy spoke with Gaetz, who explained why he thought he was “shadow banned”:

There were only four members of Congress that I have been notified to have been shadow banned. Myself, Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan, and Devin Nunes. And the thing that we obviously all have in common is that we are the four strongest supporters of President Trump and we have been critical of the Russian investigation.

This wasn’t the first time Twitter had been accused of maliciously targeting accounts. As Doocy reminded viewers: “In 2017, a Twitter employee deactivated President Trump's account because he didn't like his policies, but it was live again 11 minutes later.”

Doocy also shared Twitter’s defense where they claimed their anti-troll system “doesn't make judgments based on political views or the substance of tweets,” despite evidence to the contrary.

Gaetz told Doocy that he and his team were not sitting idly by and were planning to take official action, explaining that “we’re reviewing our options to complain to the Federal Elections Commission about the way Twitter has treated us,” because it may be considered an “illegal corporate donation” to his opponents.

In wrapping up his report, Doocy took a jab at Twitter by comparing their alleged “shadow banning” to Russian meddling in the 2016 election. “[T]he alleged interference being discussed today didn’t originate at the Kremlin, it came from California,” he quipped.

Instead of covering this story, ABC's World News Tonight was outraged at Florida's stand your ground law, CBS Evening News was fearful of 3-D printed gun, and NBC Nightly News was excited about Mick Jagger's birthday and Paul McCartney playing in Liverpool.

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UPDATE, 9:38 p.m. Eastern: Late Thursday evening, Twitter executives Vijaya Gadde and Kayvon Beykpour posted a blog where they insisted there was no targeted shadow banning of conservatives. "We do not shadow ban. You are always able to see the tweets from accounts you follow (although you may have to do more work to find them, like go directly to their profile). And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology," they wrote.

"Yesterday, we identified an issue where some accounts weren’t auto-suggested in search even when people were searching for their specific name. To be clear, this only impacted our search auto-suggestions," they explained. 

The pair asserted that "hundreds of thousands of accounts were impacted by this issue" including non-political accounts and the accounts of Democratic politicians, although none were named. 

"We’re focused on making these systems better and smarter over time and sharing our work and progress with all of you. We think it’s critical to promoting healthy public conversation on Twitter and earning trust," they concluded.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

Fox News Channel's Special Report
July 26, 2018
6:07 p.m. Eastern [2 minutes 31 Seconds]

MIKE EMANUEL: Republicans are going after Twitter tonight. They say the social media giant has purposely kept some of them from appearing in search results. Correspondent Peter Doocy reports in what some consider the latest example of ideological censorship from the left.

[Cuts to video]

PETER DOOCY: Congressman Matt Gaetz is one of the Republicans whose Twitter handle was hidden for months from some curious users searching for him. Type his name, and he didn't pop up. Today, the President, whose Twitter account helped get him elected, wrote: “Twitter ‘shadow banning’ prominent Republicans, not good. We will look into this discriminatory and illegal practice at once. Many complaints.” Another one of the allegedly blocked Republicans RNC chair Ronna McDaniel.

(…)

DOOCY: The conservative shadow ban appears to have been fixed this morning for the first time since May, when Twitter announced it would crackdown on trolls contributing to an unhealthy of dialogue. And Twitter staffers explained, “Some troll-like behavior is fun, good and humorous. What we are talking about today are troll-like behaviors that distort and distract the public conversation on Twitter, particularly in communal areas like conversations and search.”

Those search bar changes aren’t known to have impacted any Democrats. The spokesperson for Donald Trump Jr., Andrew Surabian, claims to he was shadow banned, too. He tells Fox News, “The targeted censorship of conservatives on Twitter isn't some fringe conspiracy theory, it's actually happening.” Twitter insists, “our behavioral ranking doesn't make judgments based on political views or the substance of tweets.” Congressman Gaetz isn’t so sure:

MATT GAETZ: There were only four members of Congress that I have been notified to have been shadow banned. Myself, Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan, and Devin Nunes. And the thing that we obviously all have in common is that we are the four strongest supporters of President Trump and we have been critical of the Russian investigation.

DOOCY: In 2017, a Twitter employee deactivated President Trump's account because he didn't like his policies, but it was live again 11 minutes later. These new accusations of bias may be probed for months.

GAETZ: This is no different than if a billboard company were to make a donation to my opponents and not the same donation to me, that would be any illegal corporate contribution and we’re reviewing our options to complain to the Federal Elections Commission about the way Twitter has treated us.

[Cuts to video]

DOOCY: So much talk about social media here in Washington has been about how the Russians used it to meddle in the last election. But the alleged interference being discussed today didn’t originate at the Kremlin, it came from California.

Published at Fri, 27 Jul 2018 01:18:46 +0000