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Twitter’s Failed War Against Trump and the Conservative Movement

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Solid piece of reporting on Twitter’s war on conservatives from Liz Crokin over at the The New York Observer:

Activist Pamela Geller filed a joint lawsuit with the American Freedom Defense Initiative last year, alleging Twitter and other social media platforms censor speech they deem critical of Islam. “[Twitter] has only shown energy in censoring conservatives,” Geller told Observer. “[It’s] clearly a far-left platform that only considers right-wing and pro-freedom groups as even capable of violating its ‘standards.’

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Twitter’s Failed War Against Trump

As America’s self-appointed referee, social media platform protects ‘Black Lives Matter Kidnappers’ but bounces right wing provocateurs

By Liz Crokin • The New York Observer, Janaury 5, 2017:

Twitter’s war against President-elect Donald Trump has officially backfired. Despite the tech giant’s best efforts to aggressively censor and ban conservative and libertarian voices, since Trump’s win, several high-profile conservative figures—including Milo Yiannopoulos, James Woods and James O’Keefe—have benefitted tremendously from the ongoing battle.

Twitter has afforded Trump a direct vehicle to speak, unfiltered, to his 18.7 million followers, and the President-elect has effectively leveraged his popularity on the platform to correct and even scold the media. He has also used Twitter to praise and communicate with other world leaders. It’s hard to dispute that his unprecedented use of social media had a hand in his election victory—and therein lies the irony of Twitter’s full-scale war against Trump and his conservative counterparts.

twitter

Two fake accounts, @realdonald and @RealDonalTrump, have a combined total following of less than 3,000, yet Twitter’s algorithms push users to these handles instead of that of our soon-to-be president. Twitter

But despite Trump’s nearly 19 million followers, Twitter’s search function does not direct users to his account, @realDonaldTrump, when the first several characters of his handle are entered. Incredibly, Twitter’s search engine pulls up phony, imitation accounts—like @realdonald and @RealDonalTrump. Even Politico made the mistake of following @realdonald, citing the handle’s December 24 tweet in the publisher’s own post about Trump. The two fake accounts, @realdonald and @RealDonalTrump, have a combined total following of less than 3,000, yet Twitter’s algorithms push users to these handles instead of that of our soon-to-be president. Of course, it makes sense that when users type the first two characters of President Barack Obama’s handle—which has over 80 million followers—his verified account quickly auto-populates.

Banning and censoring conservatives on social media is nothing new, as Observer has reported before. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Twitter edited its algorithms to favor positive posts about Hillary Clinton and promote negative Tweets about Trump, and Buzzfeed revealed that in 2015 Twitter’s then-CEO Dick Costolo secretly ordered employees to filter abusive and hateful replies to Obama. Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos was infamously blocked for life from Twitter after getting into a spat with Leslie Jones over a critique he wrote about her film Ghostbusters. Twitter also refused to verify Project Veritas journalist James O’Keefe’s account and then banned him following an investigation he led into Clinton. Rapper Azealia Banks was banned after she came out in support of Trump. Then, just a week after Trump’s election triumph, Twitter banned a slew of high-profile accounts associated with the alt-right movement, including controversial white nationalist Richard Spencer, according to USA Today. The move triggered outspoken Hollywood conservative James Woods to take a brief leave of absence from the platform, citing that the company is in the “censorship business.”

[…]

Activist Pamela Geller filed a joint lawsuit with the American Freedom Defense Initiative last year, alleging Twitter and other social media platforms censor speech they deem critical of Islam. “[Twitter] has only shown energy in censoring conservatives,” Geller told Observer. “[It’s] clearly a far-left platform that only considers right-wing and pro-freedom groups as even capable of violating its ‘standards.’”

Read the whole thing here.

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