Commentary

Twitter Admits To Shadow Banning Tweet Exposing Lisa Page's Actual Testimony to Congress

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Twitter “shadow banning” was a big issue throughout 2018, as reports kept popping up that the company was silencing conservative voices by secretly making tweets invisible or not allowing certain conservative figures show up in web searches.

Apparently, things are no different in 2019.

According to a report from Sean Davis, co-founder of The Federalist, a tweet he wrote regarding former FBI lawyer Lisa Page’s testimony to Congress was shadow banned by the social media platform — something Twitter allegedly admitted to, but called a case of “mistakenly remov(ing) content that doesn’t break our rules.”

The original tweet is here, and certainly seemed innocuous enough:

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In the snippet, Page talks about trying to determine whether the Trump campaign had anyone from the Russia side working with them to find damaging information about Hillary.

“This particular passage from Lisa Page’s testimony about the FBI’s Trump investigation is interesting, given that we know for a fact that a foreign national working on behalf of Hillary’s campaign was working with Russians to obtain damaging information about Donald Trump,” Davis tweeted.

He quickly found, however, that while he could see the tweet, others couldn’t.

The first photo, if you click on it, shows Davis’ feed with the tweet visible. The second shows his feed while he was not logged into his account — which clearly doesn’t show the tweet.

According to Davis, nearly a week later, Twitter confirmed to him that he was being shadow banned.

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Davis posted what he said was Twitter’s email.

“Our priority is to keep people safe on Twitter,” the letter read. “As part of that work, we err on the side of protecting people and sometimes mistakenly remove content that doesn’t break our rules. When those mistakes happen, we work quickly to fix them. We have corrected the issue.”

Huh?

Lisa Page is, unfortunately for her, a very public figure. Nothing in this testimony could theoretically be seen as threatening. How is this keeping anyone “safe”?

Just so we’re clear on the sequence of events: Sean Davis had one of his tweets essentially deleted from Twitter. Davis, a public figure himself (not quite on the Lisa Page level, although I’m sure he’s pretty happy about that) wasn’t informed about this.

When he finally got Twitter to admit to a shadow banning — a major feat in and of itself — the company claimed it was for Page’s safety.

Do you think Twitter is shadow banning conservatives?

Sorry, but the idea that this was an accident doesn’t sound particularly convincing when you consider the subject and the lack of anything in the tweet that would set off a red flag. Given Twitter’s history of shadow banning conservatives, it’s impossible to see this as anything else. And social media companies wonder why conservatives don’t trust them.

Unfortunately for Twitter, it’s coming home to roost. Rep. Devin Nunes, a California Republican and an outspoken critic of Twitter, is now suing the platform for $250 million, saying that they had been “shadow-banning conservatives” and “ignoring” complaints about abusive behavior, according to Fox News.

“Twitter is a machine,” Steven S. Biss, Nunes’ personal attorney, told Fox. “It is a modern-day Tammany Hall. Congressman Nunes intends to hold Twitter fully accountable for its abusive behavior and misconduct.”

Given that suit, Twitter’s “mistake” with the Davis post is some pretty terrible timing.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal for four years.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal for four years. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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