Twitter

Twitter 'Shadow Bans' Affect Some Conservative Leaders but Not Their Liberal Counterparts

Devin Nunes gets the Richard Spencer treatment.

|

Alexey Novikov/Dreamstime.com

Twitter appears to be "shadow-banning" several conservative leaders. In other words, their accounts don't show up when users search for them in the dropdown bar.

Those affected include Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and Donald Trump Jr. spokesperson Andrew Surabian, as well as the verified accounts of Reps. Mark Meadows (R–N.C.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), according to Vice News. Twitter users can still find their profiles with a manual search, but the accounts don't auto-populate in the search bar.

Something similar has happened to white nationalists such as Richard Spencer and right-wing trolls such as Mike Cernovich, Gizmodo reports. But other controversial figures on the far right, including Infowars founder Alex Jones and Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler, still show up in the dropdown search bar.

There does not appear to be a comparable crackdown on the left, says Vice:

McDaniel's counterpart, Democratic Party chair Tom Perez, and liberal members of Congress—including Reps. Maxine Waters, Joe Kennedy III, Keith Ellison, and Mark Pocan—all continue to appear in drop-down search results. Not a single member of the 78-person Progressive Caucus faces the same in Twitter's search.

So why are prominent Republicans being shadow-banned while their Democratic counterparts aren't? It's not exactly clear, and Twitter doesn't seem willing to provide an answer. "We are aware that some accounts are not automatically populating in our search box and shipping a change to address this," a spokesperson for the social media company tells Vice, adding that "our technology is based on account *behavior* not the content of Tweets."

Twitter did announce in May that it planned to address the issue of trolls in a way that ensures that "people contributing to the healthy conversation will be more visible in conversations and search." This may be why Spencer and Cernovich don't autopopulate in the search bar anymore, but it doesn't explain what's happened to McDaniel, Surabian, and various Republican legislators.

Conservatives have long accused Twitter and Facebook of censoring their viewpoints. In May, McDaniel and Brad Parscale, who's running President Donald Trump's 2020 campaign, sent a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking them to look into their companies' alleged anti-conservative bias.

Both companies say they're taking the accusations seriously, but many conservatives don't seem to be placated. "This type of opaque behavior by social media companies is exactly why conservatives are speaking out and demanding more transparency and accountability," House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tells Vice. "The bias has to stop."

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

95 responses to “Twitter 'Shadow Bans' Affect Some Conservative Leaders but Not Their Liberal Counterparts

  1. There does not appear to be a comparable crackdown on the left, says Vice

    Maybe because “the left” are not explicitly racist?

    White nationalism, Nazism, the Klan and other right wing groups are bad for business.

    1. Tell me again about white privilege and how minorities can never be racist. Tell me again about that BLM leader in Canada who tweeted that whites are less than human. Tell me again about how Israel needs to die.

      Somebody else, tell me why I responded to this moronic partisan motherfucker who couldn’t muster a competent counterargument if it hit him in the face.

      1. Minorities can be racist, idiot.

        I would “hide” any Nation of Islam leaders if I owned FB or TWTR.

        1. Minorities can be racist, idiot.

          LOL I know you are retarded and all, but sometimes you really crack me up.

          1. You see John, I know you’re fucking stupid but I was responding to this:

            Tell me again about white privilege and how minorities can never be racist.

            I NEVER have said what I was told I said “again”. So I had to correct him.

            Now go back to your stupidity.

            1. You don’t think anything. You just post talking points. And sometimes they contradict everything else you say so badly that it is funny. This was one of those times.

        2. The Photo That Never Saw The Light of Day: Obama With [racist and anti-semite Louis] Farrakhan in 2005

          Quote:
          A journalist announced last week that he will publish a photograph of then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama (D) and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan that he took in 2005 at a Congressional Black Caucus meeting, but did not make public because he believed it would have “made a difference” to Obama’s political future.

          The photographer, Askia Muhammad, told the Trice Edney News Wire that he “gave the picture up at the time and basically swore secrecy.”

      2. Somebody else, tell me why I responded to this moronic partisan motherfucker who couldn’t muster a competent counterargument if it hit him in the face.

        Some kind of strange self-harm fetish would be my guess.

        1. Yes. That and just the cruel desire to pick on the profoundly stupid.

      3. Somebody else, tell me why I responded to this moronic partisan motherfucker who couldn’t muster a competent counterargument if it hit him in the face.

        Dopamine cycle.

    2. Correct the left is not terrorists.

    3. So the Democratic Party is rightwing now? And you misspelled Brown Nationalism.

    4. Jim Jordan and Devin Nunes are racist?

      Maxine Waters and Keith Ellison are both batcrap insane and they’re not shadow banned.

      1. Jim Jordan and Devin Nunes are racist?

        I have no idea.

    5. Leftists and progressives are so concerned about racism because it thrives the most in their own midst:

      Portland ICE protesters spewed racist insults

      Quote:
      Federal officers policing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in Portland say they were subjected to a barrage of hateful and at times racially-charged invective during the monthlong demonstration at the facility.

      Email records obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive detail some of the insults and taunting that several nonwhite federal officers say they endured.

      In emails obtained by the newsroom, one African American officer reported to an administrator that protesters “began yelling racial slurs” at him, including the N-word. The officer said he was also called a “blood traitor” and an Uncle Tom, a derogatory term implying a black person is acting subservient to whites for money or prestige.

      “These racial slurs have been directed at me throughout the entire length of the deployment,” the officer wrote.

      Another officer, who is a woman of Hispanic and Native American descent, said she was called derogatory terms for Hispanic people and told she is “a weak female” and a “traitor.”

  2. So why are prominent Republicans being shadow-banned while their Democratic counterparts aren’t? It’s not exactly clear…

    I’d say it’s pretty clear.

    1. If they did not want to be shadow-banned then they should not be terrorists.

    2. How does reason write this stuff with a straight face?

      1. The Narrative is strong with Reason

  3. If they didn’t want to be treated like sub-human trolls then why did they become politicians?

    1. Scott Adams is another victim of this.

      1. Better that than the rest of us being a victim of Scott Adams.

        1. Ideas victimize people if they are the “wrong” ideas

        2. He might force you to go through life as something other than angry and ignorant. And no one wants that.

        3. Scott Adams, AT THIS VERY MOMENT, is out there victimizing thousands, doing what? What exactly was he doing?

            1. Well then fuck him. Hit N’ Run is my LIFE

              1. Damn straight, pervo. Now get back to work!

          1. Mostly by trying to stay relevant.

  4. Well to start with twitter only masks accounts that are from terrorists organizations. So what is the problem?

    1. Always glad to see the definition of terrorism expanded further.

      1. Also, “treason”. That word has never been abused in human history. All good things

        1. And the best part? Nothing about this could ever be used for evil.

    2. If aliens landed on earth, who would they judge as more of a threat to humanity, ISIS or the Republican party?

      1. Also, this. Comparing an American political party to a terrorist group is very responsible and a thoughtful statement.

        1. I’m talking about aliens with no preconceived biases. White people from DC on the same playing field as brown people from Syria, for example. Who’s really the bigger threat? ISIS probably doesn’t even deny climate change.

          1. You’ve hit new levels of stupid, Tony. And that’s a shame

            1. The Republican party is the single most dangerous organization on planet earth.

              I come to this genuine belief after years of being really smart.

              1. Okay, who hacked Tony’s account? That is the funniest thing I have seen all day.

          2. Let’s see. To an outside literal-alien-from-another-planet observer, one of those groups is a bunch of people in suits and ties sitting around talking to each other and typing things. The other is running around blowing things up, killing people, and selling little girls into sexual slavery.

            Something tells me that they would decide, right or wrong, that the latter group is the bigger threat.

            ISIS probably doesn’t even deny climate change.

            ISIS believe themselves to be the world’s Final Generation. They don’t give a fuck about Climate Change. You think Republicans in OK are backwards? What do you think ISIS is? The ACLU?

            Have you ever read this one?

            1. Republicans believe essentially the same thing. They may have a sleazy sexual predator as their leader, but let that not make us ignore the deep hold millenarian Christianity has on the party.

              And they blow up whole countries. And they are in charge of the most important country on earth and they deny the biggest threat to humanity even exists.

              1. If someone points out to you that seriously comparing the Republican Party to ISIS, that putting Trump’s behavior towards women on par with people who literally kidnap little girls and sell them into sexual slavery, is hyperbolic to the point of it mostly just reflecting on your intelligence rather than anything about the actual world, and then your response is to double down on that and try to explain why it’s a truly accurate characterization meriting serious defense, then you are very far gone indeed.

              2. they deny the biggest threat to humanity even exists.

                And you and I have discussed your idiotic and very ill-informed beliefs regarding Climate Change many times, to the point where you have actually been forced to admit to me that you are wrong and ignorant, yet you continue to double-down on that, too.

                Almost no one denies that “climate change” exists. That you keep insisting that they do again only says things about you, no one else.

                1. Please tell me this isn’t “the climate always changes!” Don’t lower the IQ of the planet, it’s in enough trouble.

  5. And this kind of thing, ladies and germs, is what got Der DrumpfenFuhrer elected! And may get Him re-elected, even…

    Politically correct folks slit their own throats… I enjoy the tiniest of schadenfreude, yes, I ‘fess up to that…

    But 4 or 8 years of Der DrumpfenFuhrer is one HELL of a price to pay!!!!

    1. 8 years of deregulation, lower taxes, judges who respect the 2nd Amendment and no new wars. It is just so horrible.

      1. 6 years of endless and stoooopid trade wars coming your way! The rest of the world will free-trade-bypass us and North Korea and we (together) can be “independent”. N. Korean “Juche” and Trumpian “douche”!!!!

        1. Reagan did tariffs that would make Trump blush. And we built the largest and most productive economy in history largely with a protected market. Hell, the entire Constitution was written on the assumption that the federal government would be funded by tariffs on foreign goods.

          The scaremongering over trade is absurd. The same people who think this is the end of the world turn around and advocate a national sales tax, which is nothing but a tariff on every good. Tariffs are just taxes on foreign goods. Like all taxes, the economy will adjust. The people who think otherwise are people who either are being paid to shill for some interest group or who treat economics as some kind of a religion.

          1. “Reagan did tariffs that would make Trump blush”

            The 2 constants of Trump’s presidency are:
            1. Undo whatever Obama did
            2. Rebrand whatever Reagan did as his own

            1. I suppose. But the facts are what they are.

              1. Facts that don’t fit The Narrative are sent to the Memory Hole

          2. Go see https://reason.com/blog/2018/07…..nt_7382168 for an example of how utterly brainless the Trumpian version of the trade war is!

            1. Maybe so. But it won’t make a bit of difference when compared to the positive effects of his tax and regulatory reforms. Sorry, but the great trade monster isn’t going to rise up out of the ocean and punish us for our sinful ways. All you are doing by overselling your case like this is just discrediting the case for free trade in general, which is a shame.

              1. So is your argument that the positive effects of his tax and regulatory reforms outweigh the negatives of his trade policy?

                1. Yes. Taxes and regulation matter a hell of a lot more than what amounts to a tax on imported goods in a few sectors of the economy. Most of our trade is done internally. And tariffs are not embargos. We still will trade with other countries. Beyond that, it appears the trade war has been canceled, at least with Europe

                  http://twitter.com/CNBCnow

                  1. I thought the libertarian argument was that spending increases are just deferred taxes, therefore the spending bill was a tax increase and the tax bill was not a cut because spending wasn’t cut.

              2. “All you are doing by overselling your case like this is just discrediting the case for free trade in general, which is a shame.”

                Trump is the one “discrediting the case for free trade” by saying that he favors it, while killing it! Endless negative “tit for tat” can only be broken with one side having the humility (lack of ego) to say, “I will stop this (trade ware for example) by STOPPING IT, first, and trust you to reciprocate”. Somehow giant-ego Trump has decided that TAXING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE to “punish” other people, is the RIGHT thing to do, and MUST be done more than the other guy! Other nations are often even stupider than we are, and Trump shows not ONE iota of having the humility and decency to take the first step BACK from this idiocy! So the rest of the world will have free trade, and we will not! Europe-Japan deal is already bypassing us… Expect more to come…

                I would LOVE to see The Donald develop some humility and decency, but He’s clearly not capable of it…

                1. Now you are just ranting. Yes, you hate Trump. We get it. You have sufficiently virtue signaled for the day. Meanwhile, if you have anything serious to say about the subject of trade, get back to us.

                  1. Endless negative “tit for tat” can only be broken with one side having the humility (lack of ego) to say, “I will stop this (trade ware for example) by STOPPING IT, first, and trust you to reciprocate”.

                    This is a FACT, and you’ve not addressed it.

                    I see late-breaking news of POSSIBLE reconciliation with Europe here… Time will tell if The Donald can sufficiently quash His ego to make it actually work… I hope his advisers are smarter and more humble than he is!

                    1. Endless negative “tit for tat” can only be broken with one side having the humility (lack of ego) to say, “I will stop this (trade ware for example) by STOPPING IT, first, and trust you to reciprocate”.

                      No, read the link above to the CNBC Twitter feed. Reality addressed that point.

                      Your position makes no sense. If trade wars are the end of the world, then why would the rest of the world engage in them rather than throwing Trump a bone to avoid it? They wouldn’t and are not.

                    2. Reason says it may be a nothing-burger. Time will tell. Will Trump drop His insistence that we cut off our noses to spite our faces? Time will tell…

                      See https://reason.com/blog/2018/07…..nt_7382516 etc. …

                    3. Either way the trade monster isn’t coming any time soon. Sorry dude.

                    4. Could you tell me what would be the line to cross where you would disagree with what he’s doing regarding trade?

  6. Don’t use twitter. Not that difficult.

    1. Pretty much. It’s a ridiculous invention filled with echo chambers of stupid

      1. some of it spills over to here

        1. A friend shared a video on Facebook about authoritarianism bring bad, Facebook had to cover up the video because it might contain offensive content. It’s not just twatter.

  7. I’m shocked that a company with an Orwellian group who oversees tweets and is composed, HEAVILY, of SJW types might target conservatives.

    1. Don’t forget Google.

      Class Action Complaint against Google for Workplace Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation

      Actual quotes from Google managers:

      George Sadlier (“Sadlier”), a Director, sent out email condemning James’ essay as “repulsive and intellectually dishonest” and promising an HR investigation into Damore. Damore received a late-night email from Alex Hidalgo, a Site Reliability Engineer at Google in Sadlier’s organization: “You’re a misogynist and a terrible person. I will keep hounding you until one of us is fired. F*** you.”

      Adam Fletcher (“Fletcher”), L6 SRE Manager stated in reference to conservatives as “hostile voices,” “I will never, ever hire/transfer you onto my team. Ever. I don’t care if you are perfect fit or technically excellent or whatever. I will actively not work with you, even to the point where your team or product is impacted by this decision. ”

      Kim Burchett (“Burchett”), L7 SWE Manager, proposed creating an online companywide blacklist of political conservatives inside Google.

      Another manager, Collin Winter: “I keep a written blacklist of people whom I will never allow on or near my team, based on how they view and treat their coworkers. That blacklist got a little longer today.”

  8. You screwed up the headline. It’s suppose to be “Republicans Pounce on Twitter Shadow Banning Conservatives”

    1. Republicans not able to use modern technology.

  9. All the successful tech companies are founded by liberals. What lesson can we learn from that?

    This is the free market at work. Liberals working in liberal cities in liberal states make successful products. Conservatives whine about how they aren’t being treated fairly. You don’t like how Twitter treats you? Start your own. Look at Gab. But not too long, and not at work.

    1. Twitter has never made a dime of profit. It is nothing but a black hole for foolish investors. And those liberal cities have been bleeding businesses and population for decades. Liberals are nearly all losers just like you are.

      1. That’s the market for you! I never believed in Twitter’s business model, but it sure worked for raising VC.

        I guess I wouldn’t know about all the businesses here in San Francisco, when I pass Salesforce Tower on my lunch break. Can’t build offices fast enough!

    2. I like the fact that you just recycle Democratic Party talking points

      1. He is the 2.0 version of shreek. Shreek is so stupid and unstable that he usually fucks up and doesn’t post the talking points they send to him. Happy Chandler is the new and better troll that they finally sent over to take shreek’s place. Shreek probably doesn’t even realize he has been replaced. He is like the guy in Office Space with the red stapler.

          1. They will get you that redline stapler some day shreek.

      2. It’s most likely a bot.

        So is that “Curly 4” moron upthread who’s desperately trying to get a troll started by constantly equating Republicans with terrorists. I don’t think there’s an actual person behind either account.

      3. Strange. I’m not even a Democrat.

    3. The best capitalists are liberal.

      I get sick of idiots like Bernie Sanders complaining about how the 1% run everything. He obviously doesn’t know who the 1% is.

    4. All the successful tech companies are founded by liberals.

      If you don’t count Uber, Amazon, or PayPal.

      1. Bezos is definitely liberal (not progressive). Paypal was co-founded by Elon Musk.

        1. I’m operating on the assumption that HC didn’t mean classical liberals. If so, we’re dealing with a definition of “liberal” that’s only slightly less broad than lc1789’s definition “socialist,” such that “All the successful tech companies are founded by liberals” is about as meaningful as “things cost money.”

          1. Fair enough.

            I see progressives on the left, liberals in the left center (where the good capitalists are) and conservatives on the right.

            Social conservatives are everywhere but almost none stand out in the high end of capitalism.

            1. Except the televangelists. Hey, it’s a product people want.

          2. Paypal was only successful in that they got bought by Ebay.
            Uber is far from successful. They lose money worse than Twitter.
            And if Bezos isn’t a liberal, I guess the Washington Post is like Fox News?

  10. Those affected include Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and Donald Trump Jr. spokesperson Andrew Surabian, as well as the verified accounts of Reps. Mark Meadows (R?N.C.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), according to Vice News. Twitter users can still find their profiles with a manual search, but the accounts don’t auto-populate in the search bar.

    Something similar has happened to white nationalists such as Richard Spencer and right-wing trolls such as Mike Cernovich, Gizmodo reports.

    Well, all RETHUGLIKKKANZ are literal Nazis. All goodthinking people know this. /sarc

  11. “This type of opaque behavior by social media companies is exactly why conservatives are speaking out and demanding more transparency and accountability,” that private companies bend to the will of the politicians who whine the most,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tells Vice.

  12. “So why are prominent Republicans being shadow-banned while their Democratic counterparts aren’t? It’s not exactly clear”

    Why?

    The same reason as always: BFYTW. Because they can. Because they hate the Right.

    Who do they think they’re fooling with this “it’s all behavior related” crap?

  13. As I once said, Twitter is a window into hell.

  14. Chick-fil-A endorses backwardness and bigotry, and conservatives become huge fans.

    Twitter and Facebook oppose bigotry, and conservatives can’t decide whether to call for government regulation or try to untwist their hello kitty panties.

  15. Why are we pretending that there is some controversy about conservatives being “shadow banned” and Facebook et. al investigating the “problem”.

    They all got together back in 2015/16 and pledged to use social media to push a DNC friendly agenda. During the 2016 election they all promised to crack down on “fake news” and “hate speech” and push news friendly to DNC politics.

    Yet we have spent the last 18 months pretending that none of that happened and only a kook would believe that these same people would do exactly what they said they were going to do, despite repeated examples of them doing exactly what they said they were going to do.

  16. Could this be more a function of twitter user behavior? If the user base is clicking on Dems and not Reps, then the autopopulation feature is going to favor Dems.

    As far as I can tell (from a distance), the only people using twitter for political purposes are Trump and Dems.

    But I don’t twit.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.