New Veritas Video Exposes Twitter's 'Shadow Banning'

Nick Kangadis | January 11, 2018
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James O’ Keefe’s Project Veritas organization dropped another bombshell undercover video on Thursday exposing the implicit bias of social media giant Twitter.

Separate current and former Twitter employees revealed to Vertias’ journalists of Twitter’s proclivity to censor opposing political opinions through a concept called “shadow banning.” One current employee spoke about Twitter attempting to ban a “way of talking” as well.

Despite the Washington Post/Project Veritas ordeal that put O’Keefe in hot water with other journalists, Media Research Center’s Founder and President L. Brent Bozell III praised this current effort by O’Keefe and the Project Veritas organization.

Here’s what Bozell had to say, ironically posted on Twitter:

I have been a critic of some of James O'Keefe's work in the past, so I have the credentials to say the following: What O'Keefe has produced is not just extraordinary but it demands national attention. If social media is the communications vehicle of the future -- and it is -- then this represents the most sinister threat to free speech in history. That is no exaggeration. The radical left is out to censor the voices of all with whom they disagree. O'Keefe has proven it. Every American needs to watch this -- if, of course, Twitter will allow it:

As for the video itself, former software engineer for Twitter Abhinav Vadrevu told the Veritas reporter that Twitter uses a deceptive method of shutting people up called “shadow banning.”

According to the conservation with Vadrevu conducted last week:

One strategy is to shadow ban so you have ultimate control. The idea of a shadow ban is that you ban someone but they don’t know they’ve been banned, because they keep posting and no one sees their content. So they just think that no one is engaging with their content, when in reality, no one is seeing it.

Wow! That’s downright deceptive. Essentially, Twitter is saying that even if they don’t have a good enough reason to publicly ban someone from their website, they can use the shadow ban to deceive the user into thinking that nothing is wrong with their profile except that no one sees what said user is posting, retweeting or liking.

Another poignant moment in the Veritas video came when an undercover reporter spoke with Twitter Software Engineer Steven Pierre. Pierre told the reporter about a new automated censoring tool Twitter is in the process of implementing where an algorithm will determine what stays or goes on the site.

When asked if Twitter would “essentially ban certain mindsets and/or people who could be negative,” Pierre said, “It’s not going to ban the mindset, it’s going to ban, like, a way of talking.”

But that’s not all!

Most people believe the banning process on sites as large as Twitter were automated to begin with to account for the volume of possible complaints against other users. However, former Twitter Content Review Agent Mo Norai told the undercover Veritas reporter that there are actual people reviewing and banning content based on their personal beliefs. Many of the reviewers — or employees of Twitter in general — are anti-Trump.

Here’s what Norai told the reporter:

Yeah, if they said this is: ‘Pro-Trump’ I don’t want it because it offends me, this, that. And I say I banned this whole thing, and it goes over here and they are like, ‘Oh you know what? I don’t like it too. You know what? Mo’s right, let’s go, let’s carry on, what’s next?’

A lot of unwritten rules, and being that we’re in San Francisco, we’re in California, very liberal, a very blue state. You had to be… I mean as a company you can’t really say it because it would make you look bad, but behind closed doors are lots of rules.

There was, I would say… Twitter was probably about 90% Anti-Trump, maybe 99% Anti-Trump.

That is a staggering percentage, even though it’s an opinion estimate by a former employee, it’s not surprising — as Norai said — considering Twitter’s base of uber-liberal San Francisco.

Twitter responded to the first part of Vertias’ Twitter expose — released Wednesday — where a Twitter employee boasted about being “more than happy to help the DOJ [Department of Justice] with their little investigation [Trump/Russia collusion].

Here’s the statement from a Twitter spokesperson, as told to the International Business Times:

The individual depicted in this video was speaking in a personal capacity and does not represent or speak for Twitter. Twitter only responds to valid legal requests, and does not share any user information with law enforcement without such a request.

We deplore the deceptive and underhanded tactics by which this footage was obtained and selectively edited to fit a pre-determined narrative. Twitter is committed to enforcing our rules without bias and empowering every voice on our platform, in accordance with the Twitter Rules.

Sounds like a lot of sour grapes to me. No apology. No acceptance of responsibility. All we got is what we typically get from liberals — deflecting the blame from themselves onto someone else.

Where does Twitter go from here? How will Twitter respond to Part II of the Veritas expose on their company's practices?

For the full Project Veritas video released on Thursday, watch below:

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