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July 26, 2018

Is Twitter Shadowbanning Conservatives?

Leftwing garbage site VICE actually reported that yes, Twitter is shadowbanning conservatives. Breitbart's write-up of the VICE article is here.

Trump tweeted about it, because of course he did:



What is shadowbanning? It's a method of limiting someone's reach without explicitly banning them. The most complained-of technique has been called "throttling," where Twitter only displays the shadowbanned account to the followers he interacts with the most, and hides them from all other people.

Because Twitter allows what could be called the accounts "closest followers" to see the tweets, the shadowbanned person will get responses of "Yeah, I can see your tweets" from those persons if he asks about it, and will thus doubt he's been shadowbanned.

But he has been. Because it's only that handful of accounts who saw his question about being shadowbanned.

I was personally shadowbanned; people who followed my account told me they could not see my tweets unless they specifically entered my timeline URL and just searched my timeline. That is, they could see my tweets when they searched my timeline, but Twitter didn't put my tweets into their timeline, even though they had specifically told Twitter they wanted to see my tweets in their timeline by "following" my account.

I could see the net effect of this on my retweets. Having used twitter for a while, I knew how many retweets I could expect for certain kinds of tweets, on average.

For a tweet that didn't break any new ground, but was a pithy or pungent restatement of something most conservatives believed, I could expect 40-100 retweets or so. This sort of tweet wasn't very novel or interesting, but people like retweeting things they agree with -- it saves them the trouble of writing it themselves. It's an easy way to transmit an idea you agree with. No, the thing you're retransmitting isn't all that earth-shaking, but people like spreading ideas or beliefs they agree with.

For a tweet that was actually interesting, or about breaking news and relatively fresh to the news, or was funny, etc., I had grown accustomed to seeing 300-500 retweets, or sometimes even 1000+.

Sometime in February or March of this year, as Twitter began it's new "health" initiative -- protecting people's "health" by shadowbanning people so that special snowflakes wouldn't be "harmed" by seeing them -- suddenly the number of retweets for a type one tweet -- not novel, but a decent restatement of a belief widely shared by conservatives -- dropped from 40-100 to something like five to twelve, and the number of retweets for a more interesting tweet dropped from 300-500 or more to 20 or 30.

Before you say, "Hey, that could have been NeverTrumpers just blocking or unfollowing you," well, no, this began in February or March of this year. The purging from NeverTrump follow lists had happened long before.

Roger Simon also complains of Twitter fucking with him in another way, slashing his follower-list nearly in half, for no obvious reason.

James O'Keefe previously caught Twitter employees bragging about banning people who talked about guns or God:




So yes, shadowbanning is real.

The other type of shadowbanning is removing rightwing accounts that Twitter doesn't like from its inventory of commonly-searched for account names. So, for example, if you're a liberal and you're searching for Tommy Vietor, if you write "Vie-" in the search box "Tommy Vietor" and his account name will appear immediately below, saving you the difficulty of having to remember his account's actual name. And bear in mind, many people's account names are not obvious. I think David French's account is like @DavidAFrench, either because he's egotistical or @DavidFrench was already taken by another David French.

This is another technique by twitter to limit people's ability to find right-wing accounts. It's also the technique that VICE was reporting on, specifically. (Though I know from persona experience that "Throttling" or partial-banning is a real tactic of twitter as well.)

Twitter claims that this is just a "bug" in their system. They're lying, as usual. What they're doing, per Jim Hanson (tweets below), is using blocklists -- which are nigh-exclusively used by liberals, blocking hundreds and thousands of accounts with a single command -- as an important (or the only) determinant as to whether an account is "harmful."

"Harmful" accounts will then be shadowbanned by a process called "QFD." I don't know what that stands for. Update: Now I do. It stands for "Quality Filter Discrimination."

So if a lot of liberals put you on to their blocklist -- and almost all liberals use blocklists -- then you are deemed a low-quality account and shadowbanned for not rising to Twitter's famous level of quality.

This is just Twitter making a leftwing political decision while pretending they're applying a rule evenhandedly. It's like them hiring Anita Sarkesian, a rabid left-wing censor, as a judge in deciding which accounts are "harmful." They can say they didn't make this decision themselves, but instead deferred to their expert outside judge Anita Sarkesian -- but then, they selected Sarkesian for that post, and they knew, obviously, what kinds of accounts she would find "harmful."

Spoiler alert: Some of the accounts banned after Sarkesian joined the Health and Safety Council were, get this, critical of Anita Sarkesian.

Twitter knows that liberals are block-list crazy and conservatives, maybe as a point of pride, do not use them, so by letting the number of block-lists deployed against an account determine if it's too low quality an account to appear on Twitter, Twitter knew damn well they were once again letting left-wingers determine who could post on Twitter, while pretending these decisions are being made simply by an "algorithm" having absolutely no political bias to it.

By the way, Jim Hanson says that Twitter is "fixing" what they have called a "bug." But Hanson says they're not really "fixing" it -- all they're doing is removing the highest-profile conservative accounts from this QFD low-quality shadowban, in hopes that the high-profile conservatives now declared High Enough Quality for Twitter will stop squawking about it and let Twitter go on its merry way of shadowbanning not-quite-so-high-profile accounts:


Unfortunately, the highest-profile Republicans tend to be a very selfish and mercenary crew, concerned about their own speech rights, or those of their close allies, and quite willing to permit the liberals to quash the speech of other conservatives -- to let progressives do the censorship against the neocon/NeverTrumper's enemies -- so I think Twitter will probably get away with this.

All twitter has to do is remove this shadowban from the Ben Shapiro and David French types' accounts, while leaving them on everyone else's account, and the Ben Shapiro and David French types will never say a damn word again about it.

So the only real solution, I think, is for conservatives to start making their own block-lists and blocking leftwinger en masse, so that everyone is shadowbanned according to the "How many users block you?" metric, thus forcing Twitter to abandon it, or just confess they're in the business of blocking conservatives.

They will always try to impose a negative caste system on American citizens, making some high caste and others low caste, and we must insist that there is only one caste and employ every tool at our disposal to frustrate their efforts at castification.

Conservatives have prided themselves on not employing block lists, partly because they've complained of the practice being used against them in the past, but these blocklists are now being used, if Jim Hanson is right, as the basis for shadowbans.

So the way to defeat this practice is just to make sure that Twitter's leftwing favorites appear on as many blocklists as conservatives do, rendering it useless as an allegedly "neutral" arbiter of who is allegedly a low-quality person.


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posted by Ace of Spades at 05:30 PM

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