It’s no secret that Twitter censors and shadow-bans conservatives.
The Gateway Pundit has reported on this extensively over the past few years.
We reported in July 2018 that Twitter has long been accused of censoring conservatives. Twitter was indeed censoring and shadowbanning the President of the United States, Donald Trump’s twitter account, @realDonaldTrump.
Twitter is still at it!
In July 2018 we reported that a study by the leftist website VICE News found that Twitter is censoring top pro-Trump lawmakers. Twitter is targeting pro-Trump Republican lawmakers Matt Gaetz, Devin Nunes, Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan and John Ratcliffe with the same shadowbanning technique.
Twitter is also censoring prominent pro-Trump accounts including: Mike Cernovich, Jack Posobiec, Paul Joseph Watson, TGP’s Jim Hoft, TGP’s Cassandra Fairbanks and Laura Loomer among others.
Last year Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) told the Daily Caller Foundation on Wednesday he is considering filing a FEC complaint over Twitter’s preferential treatment of liberals versus its censoring of prominent conservatives.
In July there was even video proof that President Trump’s Twitter page is being censored.
Gateway Pundit contributor Cristina Laila received a notice in 2018 that her tweet violated Pakistani law.
What the h*ll?
The President has over 57 million followers on his account but rarely does he receive more than 20,000 retweets or 100,000 likes on his tweets.
Now a new study at Quillette by Professor Richard Hanania at Columbia University found that Twitter censors conservatives over liberals at a 21 to 1 ratio.
I found it difficult to establish the extent to which any of the suspended individuals or groups clearly supported Republicans over Democrats or vice versa. Classifying them along the left-right axis is also problematic, as there are some figures that neither side would be eager to claim. Most prominent individuals who were suspended did express a preference in the 2016 election, however. And by restricting our analysis to this subset, and counting how many supported Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, we can create a rough measure of whether there is bias, albeit one with a small sample size.
As noted above, of the 22 suspended individuals, only one was a Clinton supporter. This was actress-turned-activist Rose McGowan, who temporarily lost access to her account in 2017 for posting someone’s private phone number. Note that this is an unambiguous violation of Twitter’s rules, so the platform had little choice in this case. The platform does not seem to have suspended a single prominent Clinton supporter based on the substantive content of his or her expressed views.
Of course, the existence of this disparity does not prove that Twitter is actively discriminating against Trump supporters. Perhaps conservatives are simply more likely to violate neutral rules regarding harassment and hate speech. In such case, the observed data would not serve to impugn Twitter, but rather conservatives themselves.
Luckily, through the use of standard statistical methods—similar to those commonly applied to calculate confidence intervals in the physical and social sciences—one may determine that the underlying population disparity (i.e. the disparity between liberal and conservative behavioral norms) would have to be quite large in order for there to be any significant likelihood of observing a randomly constituted 22-point data set characterized by the above-described 21:1 ratio. Indeed, assuming some randomness in enforcement unrelated to bias, one would have to assume that conservatives were at least four times as likely as liberals to violate Twitter’s neutrally applied terms of service to produce even a 5% chance (the standard benchmark) that a 22-data point sample would yield a result as skewed as 21-1.
Are prominent Trump supporters more likely to break neutrally applied social media terms of service agreements than other voters? Perhaps. But are they four or more times as likely? That doesn’t seem credible.
Indeed, it is not difficult to find cases of liberals engaging in speech that appears to cross the line while not being punished for their transgressions. This includes the case of Sarah Jeong. After she was hired as an editorial writer for The New York Times, it was discovered that over the years she had posted dozens of messages expressing hatred and contempt of whites. When conservative activist Candace Owens copied some of Jeong’s tweets and replaced the word “white” with “Jewish,” she was suspended from the platform. Perhaps realizing how hypocritical this looked after they had not taken any action against Jeong, Twitter allowed Owens back on, but only after she deleted the offending tweets…
…Harassment and the advocacy of violence are serious issues, and there is nothing morally objectionable about social media companies removing this kind of content from their platforms. However, such laudable objectives should not be used as cover to prosecute ideological campaigns. While social media platforms are private companies, anti-discrimination laws generally allow legislators avenues to address businesses that exhibit unacceptable biases in how they treat the public.
It is unthinkable that we would allow a telephone or electricity company to prevent those on one side of the political aisle from using its services. Why would we allow social media companies to do the same?