MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Trump Says 'Shadow-Banning' Conservatives on Twitter Is 'Illegal,' Promises Investigation

Trump used Twitter to blast Twitter for allegedly censoring several prominent conservative leaders.

President Donald Trump slammed his favorite social media platform today for allegedly "shadow-banning" several prominent conservatives, meaning their accounts weren't auto-populating in the dropdown bar when users searched for them.

In a tweet (ironically), Trump promised to "look into this discriminatory and illegal practice."

Olivier Douliery - Pool via CNP/MEGA/NewscomOlivier Douliery - Pool via CNP/MEGA/NewscomTrump's pledge to investigate Twitter came one day after Vice News reported on several conservative leaders whose Twitter accounts didn't auto-populate in the search bar, but could only be found with a manual search. Those affected included 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.).

There did 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.

In May, Twitter said it was addressing the issue of trolls on the platform to ensure that "people contributing to the healthy conversation will be more visible in conversations and search." Prominent far-right users like Mike Cernovich and Richard Spencer appear to have been "shadow-banned" as a result, but it wasn't clear why more mainstream conservatives were getting the troll treatment as well.

Twitter acknowledged the issue but blamed it on a glitch, insisting political bias was not a factor. "To be clear, our behavioral ranking doesn't make judgements based on political views or the substance of tweets," Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour tweeted. "Our usage of the behavior signals within search was causing this to happen & making search results seem inaccurate."

But many conservatives weren't buying it:

By Thursday morning, the profiles for McDaniel, Surabian, Meadows, Jordan, Nunes, and Gaetz were once again auto-populating in the search bar.

But even if those conservatives were being censored, Twitter wasn't, as Trump said, doing anything "illegal." As a privately run company, the social media platform has every right to promote political viewpoints it likes and censor the ones it doesn't.

Conservatives say they're proponents of free speech and free markets, and while that doesn't mean they have to like the political biases of the people who run Twitter and Facebook, they should at least respect a private company's right to promote some views over others. There is nothing stopping right-leaning programmers from creating social media networks that amplify conservative voices at the expense of liberal ones. Some conservatives have done just that, though for many more, it's much easier to complain about bias and argue the law should force private companies to accomodate them.

Photo Credit: Olivier Douliery - Pool via CNP/MEGA/Newscom

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.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Now do the NFL.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I believe that because of a certain court precedent, Trump may be correct in that what Twitter is doing is illegal.

  • Kivlor||

    Isn't Twitter headquartered in California? I'm 99% certain that CA has a law against this, but that wouldn't put it in federal territory

  • loveconstitution1789||

    That stupid federal district court judge dragged the federal government into it.

  • Kivlor||

    I must have missed it. I've not been reading / watching the news for the last few months

  • Jay Dubya||

    indeed. if only freedom loving republicans had control of all branches of govt we could roll back those authoritarian interventions & return to the rightwing libertarian tabula rasa.
    wait ....

  • Whorton||

    Don't forget, the whole of the internet is INTERSTATE by definition as such it opens itself up to that pervasive commerce clause that the democrats spent years expanding.

  • Calidissident||

    I'm very skeptical of the reasoning in that case, but I don't think that precedent would cover this at all. That case held that *politicians* couldn't ban people on their accounts (unless the accounts were clearly privately-focused in nature, IIRC) but there was no finding that would make it illegal for Twitter or Facebook to ban people, or to require that they apply the same search criteria to every account.

  • Just Say'n||

    It was a stupid ruling, but it will inevitably extend to users. The logic that a politician forbidding you from responding to them will inevitably lead to the logical fallacy of "how can the platform then ban people from interfering with their representatives through bans and shadow banning politicians?"

  • damikesc||

    Yeah, the train of logic in the illogical decision is pretty obvious. If Trump cannot interfere with your ability to communicate with him, Twitter similarly cannot interfere with your ability to communicate with Trump either.

    Again, the rules that are being made will not be popular. But nobody will stop.

  • Just Say'n||

    Such a moronic ruling, which the president is equally at fault for. If he had just muted them rather than banning them from his account then none of this nonsense would have followed

  • BYODB||

    Umm...this is one thing I think can we can safely say isn't Trump's fault but rather it's the fault of people losing their shit over Trump.

  • Just Say'n||

    The people suing are idiots for being hysterical ninnies; the courts are idiots for bending the law in order to accommodate #RESIST, and the president is a thin-skinned baby for insisting that the DOJ take this case so far. The court even told him- if you just mute them, rather than block them, we will dismiss this case

  • Calidissident||

    You're right that it's dumb logic, but there's still the distinction between a government official doing something themselves and a private company doing it. At most I could see that logic requiring Twitter to offer a type of account to banned people that has access to just official politician accounts. I don't see how it could ever forbid a ban on private activity.

  • Just Say'n||

    It's cute that you think this distinction will be upheld

  • Calidissident||

    Maybe I'm naive, but I think it will. Liberal justices won't do it out of self-interest if nothing else, and I don't see conservative justices reversing course on speech just to "own the libs."

  • Just Say'n||

    I hope you're right. But, I fear that other judges will just build on the precedent and then we're all screwed

  • Happy Chandler||

    There is no precedent for requiring a private company to provide a platform for petitioning the government.
    This would be like saying that the phone company couldn't cut you off if you don't pay your bill, because then you couldn't call your congressman.
    It would be like saying cable couldn't cut you off because you would lose CSPAN.
    The courts just said that the government can't prevent you from contacting them.

    Some slopes just aren't that slippery.

  • Whorton||

    But let's not forget the "INTERNET" is FEDERALLY SUBSIDIZED for some low income individuals. It could be argued that as such, it opens itself up to government regulation.

  • Curly4||

    Until the democrats retake government! Then it will be legal.

  • Whorton||

    Everyone seems to have forgotten about that highly expansive COMMERCE CLAUSE that the democrats have expanded the hell out of over the last 50 years?

    At this point Facebook, Google and Twitter could be controlled on equibility of access.

    FACEBOOK has become the defacto town square. Even though the town square rests on property OWNED by Markie's pub, and has a nice stage and public address system, he cannot sit on a remote "MUTE" button, squlching opinions he does not like.

    In the same way, the town library has become the INTERNET. Poor people get subsidized access to the "Information superhighway" BUT GOOGLE owns the card catalog. They don't publish or hide records, books and tapes they DON'T LIKE. Is it legal? There is no Publicly owned and maintained card catalog, The library is useless. Especially whengovernment, through taxation provides the BUILDING (subsidized access)

    Additionally, TWITTER has become the town crier. But He only relays messages to everyone he likes. When Citizen Trumps house was on fire, he neglected to broadcast that message because he does not like Citizen Trump.

    They are private enterprises, but they use the assets of the internet, which is in part subsidized for low income people. In essence, they are depriving those taxpayers of content they don't like.

    THAT is arguably a very justiciable matter.

  • Wanderer||

    Either this, or a blowdown by antitrust commission.

  • Aloysious||

    If Twitter disappeared, would anyone notice? Or would we have a bunch of apparatchiks and journalists standing around staring forlornly at a blank screen on their phones?

  • Rich||

    This.

    Twitter *may be* "nice to have".

  • Tony||

    I didn't understand what Twitter was for years. Then I sort of figured it out and still wondered what the goddamn point was.

    Is it like a game? Try to express yourself with an arbitrarily limited number of characters, for shits and giggles? Is its mission to make world leaders communicate like 5th graders?

  • Just Say'n||

    All of the above

  • Longtobefree||

    The mission, like all of the web, is to sell advertising.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Trump uses it to discuss directly to his supporters without Lefty media filters.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    That's quite perceptive for a Tony.

  • Oli||

    It's the perfect circlejerk. You spout your incredibly novel and insightful opinions, your like-minded followers will support you, and if anyone disagrees-- worry not, for it will be forgotten within a day.

  • Whorton||

    This forum needs an AGREE button!

  • Zeb||

    Yes, the people you just described would notice.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    A lot of reporters would have to start leaving the office, that's for sure.

  • BYODB||

    How can you ban someone from Twitter anymore, again? I mean, you might go to Trump's Twitter feed and if you're banned from Twitter you can't involve yourself in any of these newly nationalized 'town halls' right? That was the finding of courts, correct?

  • Cathy L||

    No, that finding pertained to government action.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    So if a private group were to prevent you from attending a polling place...

  • BYODB||

    You're an idiot, since it would akin to allowing Turning Point USA (or, hell, Apple or Microsoft) to stand in front of a Town Hall meeting and kick out whomever they choose. That's a ridiculous point of view, perhaps, but it's the one the courts have taken. Thanks, TDS.

  • Cathy L||

    You're an idiot, since it would akin to allowing Turning Point USA (or, hell, Apple or Microsoft) to stand in front of a Town Hall meeting and kick out whomever they choose.

    Not sure why you consider that a good analogy, when it would be more like a congressman demanding Turning Point USA expel a constituent from an event the congressman is appearing at.

  • BYODB||

    Oh, so now it's just an event and not a town hall. Curious that the federal judges that made this decision don't agree with you on that point. The judgment was that Trump couldn't ban people because it was a government source of information, like a town hall meeting, that should be accessible to everyone. However, if you're banned from Twitter it's functionally the same as if Trump himself banned you from his profile.

    There's no way to justify this decision. Either Twitter is a public meeting space that can't be infringed on, or it's a private company with the right to ban whomever they choose (including user that want to ban people from their accounts.)

    It can not be both simultaneously.

  • Cathy L||

    so now it's just an event and not a town hall

    Are you nuts? A town hall meeting is an "event" too.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    No, you're intentionally missing the point. If Twitter feed is considered a public facing voice and must accept all who want to read it, then it remains so even if some third party wishes to block it. If that is not the case then we can start to play all sorts of games like ringing polling locations in by private property and refusing access.

    Of course logic and the law seldom go together.

  • Kivlor||

    Case in point: All of the voting booths aroind here are on private property. Can they choose who can come in to vote?

  • Kivlor||

    Which makes me think of a tangential question: many are in churches. is that a violation of "separation of church and state"

  • Cathy L||

    If Twitter feed is considered a public facing voice and must accept all who want to read it, then it remains so even if some third party wishes to block it.

    A public-facing voice of the government.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Which would include members of Congress whom you didn't vote for whether you like it or not.

  • BYODB||


    A public-facing voice of the government.

    That you can't access if Twitter bans you, which is the point that's being made. Thus, I can only assume you do understand yet are willfully missing the point.

    Twitter is amazing, apparently, since they can simultaneously be the voice of the government that the government isn't allowed to remove you from yet is also a commercial private business platform that can ban you from accessing public government communications.

    Magical.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    President Donald Trump slammed his favorite social media platform today for allegedly "shadow-banning" several prominent conservatives, meaning their accounts weren't auto-populating in the dropdown bar when users searched for them.

    This is what happens when some Lefty judge declares that privately owned Twitter is some National Archive that must be regulated like a utility.

    Trump moves his knight to Lefty King..."check".

  • Uncle Adolf's Gas and Grill||

    There is nothing stopping right-leaning programmers from creating social media networks that amplify conservative voices at the expense of liberal ones.

    Nothing except maybe having your ISP seize your domain, or online payment processors refusing to process your payments, or hosting services refusing to host your site. Nothing at all!

  • Cathy L||

    Gab still exists.

  • Uncle Adolf's Gas and Grill||

    Gab barely exists, and there are plenty of sites that no longer do, due to deplatforming such as I mentioned.

    Of course you could get around them by owning your own DNS registry and a bank, but acquiring those things tends to be beyond the means of even prosperous software developers.

  • Cathy L||

    Lol. Does Gab barely exist because of deplatforming, or because no one wants to use it?

  • Paulpemb||

    "As a privately run company, the social media platform has every right to promote political viewpoints it likes and censor the ones it doesn't."

    Sure. And it's critics have every right to point out their bias. I don't see a lot of serious talk on the Right about 'forcing' Twitter to 'accommodate' anybody, just to acknowledge their bias and calling them out when they pretend to be above the partisan fray.

  • Bubba Jones||

    POTUS called it illegal.

    We know Trump isn't "serious" but that doesn't mean we shouldn't take the office seriously.

  • Calidissident||

    He quoted the President of the United States saying that the practice is illegal and will be "looked into."

  • Cathy L||

    I don't see a lot of serious talk on the Right about 'forcing' Twitter to 'accommodate' anybody

    Then I guess you haven't been paying attention to congressional hearings. Or, you know, this post, which is about the president calling this activity "illegal."

  • Just Say'n||

    Would it or would it not be an in-kind contribution for Twitter to shadow ban a Republican politician from it's platform, but not his opponent?

    Serious question

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Arguably it would be. Unlike the case of say, newspaper editorials.

  • Cathy L||

    Yes, that could be easily argued.

  • Just Say'n||

    And that will be the argument. It will likely be successful too. Twitter fucked itself. As stupid as campaign finance laws are and shouldn't exist they are an effective way to screw your opponents (Stormy Daniels and payments for her silence, as an example).

    This is less of a case of Republicans being hypocrites (all politicians are hypocrites in ALL political parties) and more of a case of soy boys screwing themselves over

  • Cathy L||

    Twitter fucked itself.

    Well, I mean, except that it's not actually shadowbanning any of these people.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    They're not exactly shadowaccepting people either.

  • ravenshrike||

    No, they are. Of course, they purport to say it's just the algorithms, but when the people training the black boxes think Che Guevara was just swell and capitalism is a dirty word, said black boxes will almost invariably have a political slant.

  • Calidissident||

    Would probably depend on if there was coordination with the campaign of the Democrat.

  • Just Say'n||

    Not necessarily. Campaign finance law is stupid and purposely opaque

  • Calidissident||

    If there wasn't coordination, why wouldn't it count as an independent expenditure?

  • Just Say'n||

    An independent expenditure would still require a disclaimer.

    www.fec.gov/help-candidates-an.....ected-pac/

  • Just Say'n||

    Campaign finance laws are designed to be opaque so that if they want to nail you, they'll find a way to do it

  • Calidissident||

    Ok, on the side of Twitter maybe that could be considered a violation.

    But the government would still have to show that it was motivated by the election, and that granting/denying access to a private company's online platform constitutes a contribution. I don't know if we are there yet. Dumb decision to start down the road though.

  • Happy Chandler||

    If this was the case, Regenery publishing wouldn't exist. They publish books by Republican candidates.

    If a candidate asked Twitter to take an action against their opponent, it would be an illegal in kind donation. If Twitter was following their business interests (even if they decided their interest was to ban every Republican Candidate), that is not a donation.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    I don't see a lot of serious talk on the Right about 'forcing' Twitter to 'accommodate' anybody

    Well here's one of the current heroes of the right "just asking questions" about whether Twitter should be regarded as a common carrier...

    http://twitter.com/jordanbpete.....1635934209

  • Just Say'n||

    Again. I could have sworn you just said that we need to "understand where socialists are coming from".

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    The president using social media to try to get a private company to bend to his will. Hmm. There was a time when people would have viewed this behavior as outrageous and potentially dangerous. Now, it's just 'ho-hum'.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    The bully pulpit has suddenly become unacceptable. Hmm.

  • Just Say'n||

    I thought you said we need to hear where socialists are coming from? Or did you just meant the hipster socialists that are cool right now?

  • Cynical Asshole||

    I'm pretty sure plenty of presidents have attempted to force private companies to bend to their will. The only thing unique about Trump is his use of social media to rant about it publicly.

    Didn't Kennedy order the FBI to raid steel executives offices because they dared to raise prices? That's just one example off the top of my head; I'm sure every president since then has done something similar. We just don't/ didn't hear about it because they didn't have Twitter to announce their intentions ahead of time or a 24/7 news media to keep everyone informed about the latest Twitstorm from the president and why it's the worst thing in the history of ever.

  • Kivlor||

    I find this whole "but Twitter can do what they want with their platform" kind of strange. Imagine if AT&T listened in on all calls, and randomly terminated conversations or flat out prevented calls between people because they didn't like the political discourse between certain customers...

  • $park¥ The Misanthrope||

    So what if they did? How do you know they aren't?

  • Kivlor||

    I'm pretty sure that the courts would have frowned on this Sparky. And Social Media has become a modern communication tool not unlike the phone.

    IMO this is a fair analogy. And like it or not, just because they own it doesn't mean they can do whatever they please RE service users.

  • Calidissident||

    I think there's a difference in that phone calls are private between the parties while Twitter is a public forum (I would imagine there are also TOS/contract issues preventing AT&T from doing this). If there was a physical building on private property where people were invited to talk about things, no one would question the right of the owner to remove people they don't want there. Why is it any different if that venue is on the Internet?

  • Kivlor||

    I actually think this is a good post Cal. And the physical location actually works. In many jurisdictions they actually can't remove people. See California, the HQ of Twitter.

    Also TOS/contract law is very important to this Twitter issue. Overly vague and one-sided contracts are often voidable and it is quite arguable that this is the case with many social media TOS. Just because you agrees does not mean a court will actually make you live up to it. Especially if they find it unjust or that there was insufficient consideration

  • Calidissident||

    I don't think that's true about California law. From what I understand companies generally can't hire/fire employees based on political affiliation (I'm posting a link below that examines some of the nuances there), but I don't think it's the case that they cannot base customer/client decisions on those grounds.

    https://tinyurl.com/y9tos78a

  • Kivlor||

    you think wrong my dude

  • Calidissident||

    That ruling is not as general as you seem to think it is, and has been narrowed since it was made. It basically only applies to certain common areas of shopping centers. It's not a rule that private businesses generally have to follow.

    https://tinyurl.com/y9wfv8n9

  • Kivlor||

    it need not be all that general to apply here. It applies to public Forums on private property which Twitter obviously qualifies for.

  • Kivlor||

    I will say that the link you provided was an interesting read and I was not in disagreement with your comment about employer-employee relationships however Twitter and its users do not have such a relationship. Which is why this is much more akin to the ruling that I posted regarding public spaces on private property such as parking lots

  • Calidissident||

    I don't think the shopping center analogy will hold, because the court's logic doesn't extend to the businesses themselves - in Twitter's case, their forum is their entire business. And thus far it's only ever been applied to physical property, not the Internet. If you read the Wiki article I linked, the case has been getting chipped away at for years, so I can't see any way there'd be a drastic expansion of it to cover Twitter at this point.

  • $park¥ The Misanthrope||

    And Social Media has become a modern communication tool not unlike the phone.

    So if people are communicating then the government must get involved? I know it's like that now but I'm failing to see how that's a good thing.

    And like it or not, just because they own it doesn't mean they can do whatever they please RE service users.

    So anyone that offers a service cannot choose who to serve or how? I know it's like that now but I'm failing to see how that's a good thing.

  • Kivlor||

    I said none of the things that you have fallaciously attributed to me

  • $park¥ The Misanthrope||

    The bit in italics are from your post. The questions are mine. You don't have to answer them if you don't want to. I didn't fallaciously attribute anything to you.

  • Kivlor||

    People communicating does not necessitate government involvement.

    As to getting to choose who you offer services to, well, that ship sailed with public accommodation laws for the negroes. And the gays. It's only natural to demand further expansion, and quite logical to demand it.

  • BYODB||

    Well, it's funny that you use AT&T in your example since I suspect that Twitter is about to go the way of Ma Bell if the courts keep making the argument that they're a public utility. I mean, they might not even realize that's their own argument but someone out there has noticed...

  • Kivlor||

    it was intentional lol.

    I don't think Twitter will last too long anyways, without the courts interfering, and not due to this nonsense.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    The difference between Twitter and AT&T, is that AT&T, back in its monopoly days, was actually a government-sanctioned monopoly. Look up "Kingsbury Commitment". So if AT&T was snooping on calls (and who's to say it wasn't?), then it was doing so with at least the implicit blessing of the government. Not so with Twitter.

  • Kivlor||

    Yeah, that little factoid wouldn't change much my dude.

  • EscherEnigma||

    You want to argue that any given social media platform is a utility, go for it. But I think it would fairly invite comments such as "fuck off slaver" and "statist" to do so.

  • Kivlor||

    Note you choose that term, not I

  • Cathy L||

    allegedly "shadow-banning" several prominent conservatives, meaning their accounts weren't auto-populating in the dropdown bar when users searched for them

    Yeah, only problem is that's not what shadowbanning has ever meant. But Vice had to go for the extra-rare clickbait.

  • Just Say'n||

    Notoriously conservative outlet Vice

  • Cathy L||

    No, notoriously clickbaity outlet Vice.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Wokebaity.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It reminds me a little of the >Hollywood Handbook podcast whose hosts confidently declare time and again that any thing that they don't like or think shouldn't be done is illegal.

    Any smidgen of sympathy I have for the shadow-banned is wiped out at the suggestion of state action.

  • DajjaI||

    Jack and Trump are playing a very shrewd game here. They are trying to make it look like Twitter is on the side of the libs to gain sympathy for the cons. I don't think it will work because too many people are in on the grift. I however am still suspended on twitter (you can see my feed but I can't log in). Where's the outrage?

  • Bubba Jones||

    How does one get suspended on twitter?

  • Just Say'n||

    "Conservatives pounce...."

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    I believe the memo clearly said to use "seize" this week...

  • Cathy L||

    Weird, because it says "says" in the headline here.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Joey clearly didn't read the memo.

  • Tony||

    You really can't let Republicans out of the house. They aren't properly trained to be in public yet.

    Do they think Twitter is a public commodity? Do they think it should be? Are Republicans all the product of inbreeding?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    But muh NET NEUTRALITIEZ.

  • Tony||

    Treating the internet as a utility makes sense. Twitter is some random ass private company. Aren't you the one whining and giving vague threats just below?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Ah, the old "that's different" defense. But ISP's are not the internet and in virtually all of the country you have a choice.

    I'm neither whining to making vague threats. I'm pointing out that you're either committed to free speech or you're not (definitely not in your case). And my "threat" is no different than the "threat" existing for any publisher in this country. Twitter and other "neutral arbiters" are provided protection as long as they maintain sufficient pretense. When they do not I won't weep.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Duopolies aren't a choice either.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Literally they are.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    As a privately run company, the social media platform has every right to promote political viewpoints it likes and censor the ones it doesn't.

    Sure, and since they are now exercising editorial discretion the safe harbor provisions no longer apply. I'm sure Joey won't be lamenting any attack on the spirit of free speech if and when Twitter is sued in that context. Right, Joey?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "but it wasn't clear why more mainstream conservatives were getting the troll treatment as well."

    You're a funny guy, you know that?

  • Arcxjo||

    As I understand it, the courts are saying that it's illegal for right-wing politicians not to be followable.

    That is what his critics wanted, right?

  • Longtobefree||

    When he looks into twitter, and all social media (which is not very social these days), he is going to find that they are acting like publishers, determining what does and does not get to see the light of day. And have the DOJ formally declare that they are acting as publishers.
    Let the lawsuits begin - - - - - - - - - -

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Feinstein is going to start policing their activities for them. She said so in a public hearing.

  • Eddy||

    Shadow ban ya when I saw ya make a stupid Twit (HUUUH!!!)
    What is this shit?
    What made you forget that it's against the law
    To ban me any more?

    I'm gonna knock you out (HUUUH!!!)
    Mama said knock you out (HUUUH!!!)

  • Eddy||

    #OMGICan'tEven
    #HowCanICommunicateIfIHavetoUseLongerSentences
    #CanTwitterDieSoonEnough?

  • Curly4||

    When the democrats retake the government 'Shadow-Banning' of conservative groups will be back on full steam ahead. This time it will work.

  • Whorton||

    Don't bet on it. Recall the balance of the SCOTUS is about to change, AND you still don't know that the dems will "retake the government." Their gamble could very well backfire on their happy asses. Their hard turn to the left, and demands for open borders and socialism does not sit well with most of the electorate.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    "There did not appear to be a comparable crackdown on the left"

    FYI. That's not how you conduct a control.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    FYI. This is not an RCT.

  • Whorton||

    Frankly, I am getting damned tired of progressively controlled social media insisting they are a public media, while simultaneously censoring conservative speech.

    Yes, I understand the argument about "its privately owned they can do what they want, and I agree with that generally. The problem is that such services as Facebook, Google and Twitter are so large as to be both monopolistic and monolithic. The fact that they are "free" of cost is inconsequential. If you are going to edit content, you have a grave responsibility to do so equitably.

    Facebook has become the default modern town square. It is as if Markie's tavern built a dias in the town square but REFUSE to let those with whom they disagree use the facility.

    Conversely, Everyone supposedly decries "Net Neutrality" but the card catalogs (search engines) are privately owned and only list books GOOGLE approves of. Equitable? Hell no. . .

    Additionally, they have installed comfy seats and better viewers (Youtube) in the library, They are free, but only for content they approve of.

    The Town crier (Twitter) now only bespeaks messages that he agrees with. Who cares if the British are attacking Citizen Trumps place. The town crier will not sound the alarm because he does not like Citizen Trump.

    Right at the moment, the way the tech giants have acted, I hope Congress destroys Twitter. They sure as hell are not policing themselves.

  • onebornfree||

    Facebook, Google [and by extension, Youtube] all appear to have been initially funded/created by the CIA, making them government run "utilities" that "cannot" [:-) ] violate the 1st amendment [ if one naively assumes that the constitution actually means anything].

    I'm not sure about Twitters deep roots, but I would not be surprised if it was the exact same "iron fist, velvet glove" routine. Does anyone here know anything?

    REALITY CHECK!:"Because they are all ultimately funded via both direct and indirect theft [i.e.taxes], and counterfeiting [central bank monopolies], all governments are essentially, at their very cores, 100% corrupt criminal scams, which cannot be "reformed", "improved", or "limited" in scope, simply because of their innate criminal nature." http://onebornfree-mythbusters.blogspot.com/ Regards, onebornfree

  • Azathoth!!||

    You know, when people suggest that Twitter wasn't doing anything illegal, it strikes me that they might have been.

    I can't believe that the ToS contracts include things likw 'we can cut you off at whim while making it look like nothing's wrong' or 'if someone retweets something that you said to your followers to someone you DIDN'T tweet it to and that person is offended YOU (who didn't say it to them) can be blamed for what someone else did.

    If you watch the right side of youtube you hear about de-monetization pretty regularly (and notice that a whole lot of these de-monetized videos have ads before them--who gets THAT revenue?). Is THAT in the ToS agreement?

    And then there's perks. You tube has set up perks for creators that have over 10,000 subscribers. But right wing creators with millions of subscribers are denied them. Is THAT in the ToS?

    I'm betting that it's not.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online