The embattled Twitter has been caught playing more political games. Jack Dorsey’s struggling social network has been called out by several supporters of President Donald Trump—including, quite notably, the great Scott Adams of Dilbert fame—for attempting to silence the voices of the right.
It’s common knowledge that Twitter’s executive team leans left, but most folks on both sides would agree meddling with a micro-blogging platform’s content based on political views is fairly unethical.
Mike Keen, a 30-year-old entrepreneur from New York, wrote a Medium post stating that certain tweets were being deleted, which rendered entire threads invisible to most—and that all the threads being deleted were pro-Trump, leaving only hate in response to Trump tweets.
” The (anti-Trump) tweet that I replied to was deleted once mine started outpacing it in number of favorites and retweets,” he wrote. “It was interesting to observe that once that tweet was deleted, mine stopped being interacted with. ”
According to Keen, “I have found that while initially, for about the first minute or so, I get a flood of reactions and notifications—favorites, retweets, etc.—and then they abruptly stop, because my tweets are being manually removed from the main conversation thread.”
It could be easy to dismiss this anecdotal claim if Scott Adams didn’t add fuel to the fire just two days later in a blog post called “The Social Media Hive Mind,” which he shared on social media using a fake headline because, in his own words, “I had to disguise the content so Twitter wouldn’t throttle it.”
Adams garnered proof of Twitter’s offside censorship when he linked “a great video that describes in detail how Twitter ‘throttles’ the tweets of any content that disagrees with their political views.” And what happened? Adams got throttled.
Adams notes this collapsing of Twitter threads occurs “only with certain types of content,” particularly pro-Trump tweets.
“I no longer have freedom of expression in the way that most of you still do because the social media platforms throttle my ideas,” Adams posits.
He suggests that this should be a major, worldwide story—where did freedom of speech in America go?—but it seems that Trump supporters simply don’t count in the equation.
Of course, we should not be surprised. Reddit offered perhaps the most significant example of this when the company’s own CEO manually altered pro-Trump posts on “the front page of the Internet,” and has been openly censoring Reddit’s main pro-trump forum—The_Donald—since Trump won the election, greatly diminishing the voices of Trump supporters on seemingly neutral channels. Perhaps most telling of all: Steve Huffman, Reddit CEO, never felt the need to formally apologized after being caught.
Imagine sitting on a panel in front of an attentive audience. There’s a mic being passed around as members of the panel discuss important, relevant timely issues. But when your turn to speak comes, you don’t get the mic. You have to shout at the top of your lungs just to be heard by a few folks, and half of them think you’re crazy for yelling inside.
Let’s keep social media neutral, everyone, and avoid censorship at all costs.