Twitter “hid” nearly 50 percent of tweets bearing the hashtag #DNCLeak along with a quarter of those with #PodestaEmails during the last two months of the 2016 presidential campaign, according to new testimony from Twitter’s general counsel.
On Oct. 31, the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism heard testimony from Twitter general counsel Sean Edgett in its investigation of possible Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Edgett said that Twitter systems concealed substantial numbers of tweets relating to hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee as well as from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, despite the fact that it knew that only a tiny percentage of these could have even “potential links to Russia.”
“We found that slightly under 4% of Tweets containing #PodestaEmails came from accounts with potential links to Russia,” Edgett said in his written testimony, whereas of tweets bearing the #DNCLeak, “roughly 2% were from potentially Russian-linked accounts,” he said.
Despite the low correlation between those hashtags and possible Russian involvement, Twitter hid 48 percent of tweets with the #DNCLeak hashtag and 25 percent of tweets with #PodestaEmails, Edgett said.
In his testimony, Edgett made no mention of another important hashtag, namely the plural “#DNCLeaks.”
As Breitbart News reported in the summer of 2016, users accused Twitter of censoring WikiLeaks’ DNC email release by swapping the trending #DNCLeaks hashtag with the far less popular singular #DNCLeak.
#DNCLeaks was one of the top trending topics on Twitter on July 22 with over 250,000 tweets reportedly made under the hashtag after the WikiLeaks release of more than 19,000 leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee.
Later on in the day, however, the hashtag reportedly disappeared from the trending bar for some 20 minutes, before reappearing under the less popular hashtag “#DNCleak.”
“The change meant that those investigating the new trending hashtag would not see all of the other posts tagged under the previous version, effectively hiding over 250,000 tweets from the public,” the report noted.
None of this came up in Edgett’s testimony Tuesday, which adds further questions to the already egregious partisan censorship that Twitter seems guilty of.
Edgett said that prior to the election, “we also detected and took action on activity relating to hashtags that have since been reported as manifestations of efforts to interfere with the 2016 election,” even though what he calls “interference” was in the majority of cases a simple effort to “influence” the election by providing damning true information about the Hillary Clinton campaign, which is a normal thing during presidential campaigns.
WikiLeaks released the DNC and Podesta emails throughout the election, which were especially damaging to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome