One of those platforms, Twitter, has been accused of “shadow-banning” users who post such content or who publicly advocate for the president as well as elected Republicans and GOP candidates for public office. One of them, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, has even filed a complaint against Twitter with the Federal Election Commission.
Last month the CEO of Twitter, co-founder Jack Dorsey, made the media rounds to gaslight Americans– claiming that his platform isn’t guilty at all of banning or censoring any content based solely on political points of view.
“We need to constantly show that we are not adding our own bias, which I fully admit is left, is more left-leaning,” Dorsey said. “And I think it’s important to articulate our bias and to share it with people so that people understand us, but we need to remove all bias from how we act, and our policies, and our enforcement.”
Well, that certainly sounds good, but how close to reality is it? Turns out, not very.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Twitter has embarked on a program to identify “bad actors” – and of course, the platform itself gets to define who they are and what constitutes ‘bad’ behavior – that directly involved Dorsey himself.
The paper reported that the CEO is now personally making decisions regarding the banning of high-profile users, which is reportedly “regularly frustrating Twitter employees,” Breitbart News added.
The WSJ reported that Twitter is primarily relying on users to ‘police’ the platform; decisions about who gets banned and who doesn’t are then based on a review of consistent policies that relate to Twitter’s user rules.
Last month, after Twitter’s controversial decision to allow conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to remain on its platform, Mr. Dorsey told one person that he had overruled a decision by his staff to kick Mr. Jones off, according to a person familiar with the discussion. Twitter disputes that account and says Mr. Dorsey wasn’t involved in those discussions.
Twitter’s initial inaction on Mr. Jones, after several other major tech companies banned or limited his content, drew fierce backlash from the public and Twitter’s own employees, some of whom tweeted in protest.
But the thing was, Jones hadn’t violated any rules. He was accused of inciting civil violence, but in fact, that wasn’t the case at all. So the users who were ‘policing’ the platform were intentionally taking Jones’ words out of context (along with Lester Holt of NBC News) simply because they don’t like him and don’t think the First Amendment should apply to him.
In November 2016, tempers flared at the company again when the platform’s trust and safety team kicked off Alt-Right voice Richard Spencer for operating too many accounts. Though Dorsey was not involved initially in the decision, he informed the team they should allow Spencer back on the platform with at least one account.
Twitter denied that Dorsey personally intervenes in such decisions. But insiders claim otherwise, and as CEO, it would seem logical that in high-profile cases like those involving Jones and his media organization, Infowars, Dorsey would want to be involved given that he has said repeatedly Twitter has “moved too slow” in policing content, tweeting to one user, “We are fixing” the issue, the WSJ reported.
It's not clear whether the federal government, via the FEC or some other agency, or Congress will eventually step up and order more ‘fairness’ from the social media behemoths.
But it is clear that there are alternatives – like Brighteon.com to YouTube – springing up that, short of planning terrorist attacks or other illegal activity, are more than willing to accommodate users’ right to speak and express freely.
Read more about social media censorship at Censorship.news.