Is Twitter Working on a System to Automate Censorship of Republicans and Conservatives?

Project Veritas, an undercover conservative journalistic organization, has caught Twitter engineers exposing how Twitter currently censors Republicans and conservative tweets. They sometimes allegedly use a concept called shadow banning, where a Twitter user continues to tweet without realizing that Twitter is not allowing their tweets into their followers feed.

On January 3rd, 2018, Abhinov Vadrevu, a former Twitter Software Engineer explains in the undercover video:

“One strategy is to shadow ban so you have ultimate control. 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.”

More disturbing is how one engineer revealed that Twitter is currently working on a system to automate banning and censorship of “shitty people.” Presumably, this might include politically oriented posts that Twitter or its employees disagree with.

In another undercover video by Project Veritas on December 8, 2017, current Twitter Software Engineer Steven Pierre talks about how Twitter plans to automate censorship:

“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. 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. They may have point, but it will just vanish… It’s not going to ban the mindset, it’s going to ban, like, a way of talking.”

Another former Twitter engineer Conrado Miranda confirmed in the video that Twitter already has tools are already in place to censor pro-Trump or conservative content on the platform. When asked he said, “That’s a thing.”

Olinda Hassan, a Policy Manager for Twitter’s Trust and Safety Team confirmed on undercover video during a Twitter holiday party that Twitter is working on an automated way to censor “shitty people.”

“Yeah. That’s something we’re working on. It’s something we’re working on. We’re trying to get the shitty people to not show up. It’s a product thing we’re working on right now.”

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