Twitter is accused of “blatant censorship” in a new video from Project Veritas exposing employees at the social media site discussing ways to censor and ban political speech they disagree with.
“Although Twitter presents itself as politically neutral,” James O’Keefe explained in a video published Thursday, “its culture behind closed doors is one of blatant censorship, systematic bias and political targeting.”
The 15-minute video shares results of a Project Veritas investigation, revealing eight current and former Twitter employees explaining how “shadow banning” and algorithms can help them prevent opposing viewpoints from getting a social media platform.
“One strategy is to shadow ban so you have ultimate control,” former Twitter software engineer, Abhinov Vadrevu said in the video. “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. So they just think that no one is engaging with their content, when in reality, no one is seeing it.”
The shadow ban algorithms can be manipulated to target specific content, such as anything deemed right-leaning.
“Yeah you look for Trump, or America, and you have like five thousand keywords to describe a redneck,” Twitter Direct Messaging Engineer Pranay Singh explained. “Then you look and parse all the messages, all the pictures, and then you look for stuff that matches that stuff.”
“I would say majority of it are for Republicans,” he added.
The “unwritten rules” from management allow reviewing agents to ban accounts at their own discretion, according to former Twitter Content Review Agent Mo Norai.
“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 in the video. “Twitter was probably about 90 percent Anti-Trump, maybe 99 percent Anti-Trump.”
And employees may soon have even more power to censor speech they disagree with as Twitter is reportedly working on “trying to get the sh**ty people to not show up,” according to Olinda Hassan, a Policy Manager for Twitter’s Trust and Safety team.
In reviewing content for Twitter, Norai explained that the aim wasn’t necessarily to protect against hate-speech but to use the review as a tool to promote the liberal, left agenda which would be allowed to go through while conservative, right-leaning content would be flagged and blocked.
Twitter Software Engineer Steven Pierre told the undercover journalists about a secret project using “machine learning” that will ultimately rate online conversations and remove “aggressive” tweets.
“Every single conversation is going to be rated by a machine and the machine is going to say whether or not it’s positive thing or a negative thing,” Pierre said, explaining that it will essentially be banning “a way of talking.”
O’Keefe called on Twitter to stay true to its mission statement and become more transparent with its internal workings “or become irrelevant” by allowing employees to abuse their power.
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