Critics slammed Twitter Thursday after learning the social media platform reportedly suppressed the tweets of right-wing commentators by “blacklisting” their accounts.
Three of the conservatives who were “shadow banned” — or partially censored — by the company, according to the second installment of the “Twitter Files” reported by independent journalist Bari Weiss, spoke out against the bird app after the news broke.
One of the men, conservative talk show host Dan Bongino, said the revelation proved what he long suspected.
“We ALWAYS knew we were a target of the Twitter suppression machine. ALWAYS. Yet liberals insisted it was another ‘conspiracy theory’,” Bongino tweeted. “Tonight is vindication, yet I expect no apologies from liberals. They live to abuse power and they’ll make no apologies for doing so.”
He later appeared on Fox News to slam the censorship.
“This is some Soviet-style bulls–t right here,” he said.
Meanwhile, Stanford University’s anti-COVID lockdown advocate Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, who was also named in Weiss’s reporting, said he is processing the news.
“Still trying to process my emotions on learning that @twitter blacklisted me,” he said on Twitter. “The thought that will keep me up tonight: censorship of scientific discussion permitted policies like school closures & a generation of children were hurt.”
He added that he was curious what role the government may have played in Twitter’s suppression of COVID policy discussions, if any.
The third blacklisted, right-wing activist Charlie Kirk said Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey assured him in 2018 that Twitter didn’t “shadow ban” accounts.
But then he said he witnessed a drop in engagement with his Twitter profile in the run-up to the 2020 election and the loss of 200,000 followers after the January 6 Capitol riot — basically overnight.
“We will never know how much damage Twitter’s censorship of my account and others’ has done to the public discourse, the marketplace of ideas, my work at TPUSA, or the 2020 Presidential election,” Kirk tweeted. “Twitter may be a private company, but this was digital tyranny, full stop.”
He called on Twitter to publicly release a list of all accounts that were targeted.
“Twitter should publicly release ALL information on shadowbans [sic], no matter how large or small the target was,” Kirk said. “Let the truth out.”
Weiss had detailed in a series of posts how Twitter used so-called “shadow banning” to limit the visibility of tweets coming from far-right users.
Twitter has denied that it uses any such tactic.
Republican lawmakers also chimed in and knocked the apparent shadow banning.
“Twitter put ‘threat tags’ on conservative accounts, like the FBI put ‘threat tags’ on parents protesting at school board meetings and just like the IRS,” Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan tweeted.
Right-wing Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene kept her comment on the revelation simple.
“Oversight is coming,” she said in a retweet of Weiss’ initial Twitter thread detailing her findings.
Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie also weighed in.
“If the censors at Twitter thought this was moral, they would not have done it secretly,” he tweeted. “This is a window into their arrogant but fragile egos.”
Several Twitter users decried Twitter’s alleged lies about how they didn’t suppress views to certain accounts.
“Not only did Twitter under previous management systematically shadow ban and otherwise limit conservative accounts—they lied through their teeth about it the whole time,” writer Patrick Casey tweeted. “These are the people we’re supposed to trust as ‘experts.’”
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