Former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo secretly ordered his employees to censor negative comments about Barack Obama during a May 2015 question-and-answer session, #AskPOTUS.
BuzzFeed.com reported Thursday that Costolo ordered employees to deploy an algorithm to filter out foul language directed at Obama during the Q&A session. The social media boss also ordered employees to monitor the proceedings and manually delete anti-Obama tweets missed by the algorithm.
The insiders said Costolo handpicked the employees who were tasked with the censorship and instructed them not to tell other Twitter employee what they were deployed to do.
“This was another example of trying to woo celebs and show that you can have civilized conversations without the hate even if you’re a high-profile person,” the source said. “But it’s another example of a double standard — we’ll protect our celebrities, while the average user is out there subject to all kinds of horrible things.”
Still, word eventually got out, and it caused a row among some who were upset that Twitter’s longstanding policy of free speech was violated by their own CEO.
Other Twitter insiders said the same thing was done during a recent Q&A with Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner.
Even though he personally ordered the censorship, when Costolo stepped down as Twitter’s CEO last year, he claimed he upheld Twitter’s commitment to free speech saying, “I will say directly that I think regulation is a threat to free speech.”
But apparently Twitter thinks “free speech” is relative. For instance, despite its claim to being a bastion of free speech, Twitter has signed onto a campaign sponsored by the EU to root out “hate speech.”
It is quite a contradiction to claim to be for free speech on one hand, yet on the other engage in a campaign to end so-called “hate speech.”
And even at that it appears Twitter’s definition of “hate speech” is subjective. After all, the social media giant recently sided with the hate speech of a rapper who tweeted that Sarah Palin should be gang raped by blacks.
So, apparently it’s only “hate speech” when those Twitter likes are being attacked.
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