Twitter has denied shadowbanning, saying that the apparent suppression of autocomplete search suggestions for Republican congressman Matt Gaetz is an “error.”
A Twitter spokeswoman denied shadowbanning exists, and told Breitbart News that the issue with Matt Gaetz’s search results is being fixed:
As we have said before, we do not shadowban. We are aware that some accounts are not automatically populating in our search box, and [are] shipping a change to address this. The profiles, Tweets and discussions about these accounts do appear when you search for them.
Breitbart News contacted the office of Rep. Gaetz, which also commented on the suppression of the Congressman’s accounts:
Our office is aware of claims that Twitter has discriminated against multiple accounts maintained by Congressman Gaetz. We are investigating the depths and impact of these serious charges. It is curious that these allegations would arise the week following Congressman Gaetz’s heated exchange with Twitter senior executives before the House Judiciary Committee. Congressman Gaetz continues to believe that interactive computer services, such as Twitter, should not discriminate against content while simultaneously asserting that they are a nonbiased public forum under federal law.
This followed reports that results for Rep. Matt Gaetz’s account were not autocompleting in search results. Rep. Gaetz is a Trump ally who has previously called out Silicon Valley for bias against conservatives and Trump supporters.
— Ali Alexander 🇺🇸 (@ali) July 24, 2018
Vice recently confirmed that other prominent Republicans, including RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, are facing the same autocomplete problems, and that their Democrat counterparts are not. McDaniel, along with Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, recently sent a letter to Twitter and Facebook raising concerns about anti-conservative bias.
We won’t tolerate bias toward conservatives or @realDonaldTrump supporters. We’re standing up for you and demanding answers. @GOPChairwoman and I have sent the following letter to @facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and @Twitter’s @jack Dorsey. #StopTheBias pic.twitter.com/Poz0Dne9i7
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) May 24, 2018
Other members of the mainstream press are beginning to publicly comment on the shadowban issue as well, such as Axios reporter Jonathan Swan.
Covert (and overt) censorship of conservatives and right-wingers has been a reality on Twitter for some time. In January, Twitter employees were caught on camera discussing “shadowbanning” some conservative accounts, and classifying others as “bots” if they made too many tweets about “God, guns, and America.” More recently, it was discovered that a number of conservative accounts have been made difficult to find in search results, while left-wing accounts have not. This followed an announcement by Twitter that it would artificially “downrank” content that “distort and detract from the public conversation.”
More recently, Twitter’s famously woke CEO Jack Dorsey has said he wants artificial intelligence to determine “credible voices” on the platform. By taking an editorial approach to content, picking and choosing what content is promoted and what is downranked, Twitter risks alleations that it has become a publisher rather than a neutral platform, which would make it legally liable for the content posted by its users.