Project Veritas exposes Twitter 'shadow-banning'

The latest bombshell from Project Veritas may be the most significant exposé of social media ever.

James O'Keefe turned his hidden camera and microphone on Twitter employees, and what he found should shake our democracy to its core. 

Twitter, which piously professes strict political neutrality, practices significant censorship of the "way people talk" on the platform.

PJ Media:

Abhinav Vadrevu, a former Twitter software engineer, explained how "shadow[-]banning" works at a San Francisco restaurant on January 3, 2018.

"One strategy is to shadow[-]ban so you have ultimate control," he explained.  "The idea of a shadow[-]ban is that you ban someone but [he doesn't] know [he's] been banned, because [he keeps] posting and no one sees [his] content.  So [he] just think[s] that no one is engaging with [his] content, when in reality, no one is seeing it."

And it's only going to get worse:

According to a current Twitter employee, software engineer Steven Pierre, the social media giant is in the process of weaponizing the practice of censorship through automation.

"Every single conversation is going to be rated by a machine and the machine is going to say whether or not it's a positive thing or a negative thing," Pierre told a Project Veritas undercover journalist on December 8, 2017.  "And whether it's positive or negative doesn't (inaudible)[;] it's more like if somebody's being aggressive or not.  Right?  Somebody's just cursing at somebody, whatever, whatever.  [He] may have [a] point, but it will just vanish[.] ... It's not going to ban the mindset, it's going to ban, like, a way of talking."

Twitter is also in the process of developing a system for  "down[-]ranking" what Olinda Hassan, a policy manager for Twitter's Trust and Safety team, calls "[s‑‑‑‑‑] people."

"Yeah.  That's something we're working on," Hassan told the Veritas journalist.  "It's something we're working on.  We're trying to get the [s‑‑‑‑‑] people to not show up.  It's a product thing we're working on right now."

Lest anyone doubt that Twitter is working to ban only trolls and other disagreeable users, this should set the record straight:

Twitter [e]ngineer Conrado Miranda told Project Veritas on December 1, 2017, that censoring conservatives is indeed "a thing."

According to O'Keefe, Twitter Content Review [a]gent Mo Norai admitted on May 16, 2017,  that "in the past Twitter would manually ban or censor [p]ro-Trump or conservative content."  Asked about the process of banning accounts, Norai said, "On stuff like that it was more discretion on your view[]point, I guess how you felt about a particular matter[.]"

In other words, it was totally subjective, and given the overwhelmingly left-wing ideological make-up of most techies in Silicon Valley, conservative Twitter users were/are at their mercy.

Norai explained how the process went when he was with the company: "Yeah, if they said this is '[p]ro-Trump,' I don't want it because it offends me ... 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?'"

None of this is surprising.  Twitter censorship has been widely suspected for years. 

The surprise comes in how active Twitter has been in banning speech its staffers disagree with.  The company has probably spent millions of dollars in development costs to create the means to censor speech. 

I get a chill just thinking about this kind of power in the hands of left-wing radicals who don't care about freedom of thought.

If Twitter wants to censor conservative speech, it has a right to do so.  It is a private company and can set its own standards when it comes to what appears on its websites.  But censoring speech in secret while proclaiming political neutrality is massively dishonest and suggests questions about the company's truthfulness to investors.  Deliberately misleading investors is a crime – just ask the state of New York, which is suing Exxon because Exxon supposedly lied to stockholders about global warming.

If social media companies like Facebook and Twitter want to censor the opposition, they should say so.  If conservatives choose to continue to use those platforms after Big Tech comes clean, that's their right.  But the reason they are keeping their censorship secret is because if millions of customers knew that they could be "shadow-banned" any time, the companies would lose those customers and money – a lot of it.

The latest bombshell from Project Veritas may be the most significant exposé of social media ever.

James O'Keefe turned his hidden camera and microphone on Twitter employees, and what he found should shake our democracy to its core. 

Twitter, which piously professes strict political neutrality, practices significant censorship of the "way people talk" on the platform.

PJ Media:

Abhinav Vadrevu, a former Twitter software engineer, explained how "shadow[-]banning" works at a San Francisco restaurant on January 3, 2018.

"One strategy is to shadow[-]ban so you have ultimate control," he explained.  "The idea of a shadow[-]ban is that you ban someone but [he doesn't] know [he's] been banned, because [he keeps] posting and no one sees [his] content.  So [he] just think[s] that no one is engaging with [his] content, when in reality, no one is seeing it."

And it's only going to get worse:

According to a current Twitter employee, software engineer Steven Pierre, the social media giant is in the process of weaponizing the practice of censorship through automation.

"Every single conversation is going to be rated by a machine and the machine is going to say whether or not it's a positive thing or a negative thing," Pierre told a Project Veritas undercover journalist on December 8, 2017.  "And whether it's positive or negative doesn't (inaudible)[;] it's more like if somebody's being aggressive or not.  Right?  Somebody's just cursing at somebody, whatever, whatever.  [He] may have [a] point, but it will just vanish[.] ... It's not going to ban the mindset, it's going to ban, like, a way of talking."

Twitter is also in the process of developing a system for  "down[-]ranking" what Olinda Hassan, a policy manager for Twitter's Trust and Safety team, calls "[s‑‑‑‑‑] people."

"Yeah.  That's something we're working on," Hassan told the Veritas journalist.  "It's something we're working on.  We're trying to get the [s‑‑‑‑‑] people to not show up.  It's a product thing we're working on right now."

Lest anyone doubt that Twitter is working to ban only trolls and other disagreeable users, this should set the record straight:

Twitter [e]ngineer Conrado Miranda told Project Veritas on December 1, 2017, that censoring conservatives is indeed "a thing."

According to O'Keefe, Twitter Content Review [a]gent Mo Norai admitted on May 16, 2017,  that "in the past Twitter would manually ban or censor [p]ro-Trump or conservative content."  Asked about the process of banning accounts, Norai said, "On stuff like that it was more discretion on your view[]point, I guess how you felt about a particular matter[.]"

In other words, it was totally subjective, and given the overwhelmingly left-wing ideological make-up of most techies in Silicon Valley, conservative Twitter users were/are at their mercy.

Norai explained how the process went when he was with the company: "Yeah, if they said this is '[p]ro-Trump,' I don't want it because it offends me ... 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?'"

None of this is surprising.  Twitter censorship has been widely suspected for years. 

The surprise comes in how active Twitter has been in banning speech its staffers disagree with.  The company has probably spent millions of dollars in development costs to create the means to censor speech. 

I get a chill just thinking about this kind of power in the hands of left-wing radicals who don't care about freedom of thought.

If Twitter wants to censor conservative speech, it has a right to do so.  It is a private company and can set its own standards when it comes to what appears on its websites.  But censoring speech in secret while proclaiming political neutrality is massively dishonest and suggests questions about the company's truthfulness to investors.  Deliberately misleading investors is a crime – just ask the state of New York, which is suing Exxon because Exxon supposedly lied to stockholders about global warming.

If social media companies like Facebook and Twitter want to censor the opposition, they should say so.  If conservatives choose to continue to use those platforms after Big Tech comes clean, that's their right.  But the reason they are keeping their censorship secret is because if millions of customers knew that they could be "shadow-banned" any time, the companies would lose those customers and money – a lot of it.