Project Veritas Bombshell: Twitter Engineers Explain How They 'Shadow Ban' Conservatives
No, you weren't being paranoid. Everything you ever suspected about Twitter censoring right-wing opinions through "shadow bans" is true. In his latest sting, conservative muckracker James O'Keefe caught eight current and former Twitter employees admitting on camera that they engage in the practice.
Twitter tries to present itself as a politically neutral media platform, but as this latest Project Veritas bombshell video confirms, it is anything but.
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 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.”
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. 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.”
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 “shitty 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 shitty people to not show up. It’s a product thing we’re working on right now.”
If Twitter is just trying to filter out bullies and trolls who add nothing to the conversation, that's one thing, but if they are also trying to censor pro-Trump or conservative content on the platform, that's a whole 'nother ball of wax.
Twitter Engineer Conrado Miranda told Project Veritas on December 1, 2017, that censoring conservatives is indeed "a thing.”
According to O'Keefe, Twitter Content Review Agent Mo Norai admitted on May 16, 2017, that "in the past Twitter would manually ban or censor Pro-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.