I spoke with OAN host Liz Wheeler about the allegations that Twitter is silencing many of its users. Milo Yiannopoulos, editor of Breitbart Tech and frequent guest of Ricochet’s own Radio Free Delingpole, revealed that the financially troubled social platform is using a technique called “shadowbanning” to limit the reach of accounts that promote a non-PC message:
According to the source, Twitter maintains a ‘whitelist’ of favoured Twitter accounts and a ‘blacklist’ of unfavoured accounts. Accounts on the whitelist are prioritised in search results, even if they’re not the most popular among users. Meanwhile, accounts on the blacklist have their posts hidden from both search results and other users’ timelines.
Our source was backed up by a senior editor at a major digital publisher, who told Breitbart that Twitter told him it deliberately whitelists and blacklists users. He added that he was afraid of the site’s power, noting that his tweets could disappear from users’ timelines if he got on the wrong side of the company.
Shadowbanning, sometimes known as “Stealth Banning” or “Hell Banning,” is commonly used by online community managers to block content posted by spammers. Instead of banning a user directly (which would alert the spammer to their status, prompting them to create a new account), their content is merely hidden from public view.
For site owners, the ideal shadowban is when a user never realizes he’s been shadowbanned.
However, Twitter isn’t merely targeting spammers. For weeks, users have been reporting that tweets from populist conservatives, members of the alternative right, cultural libertarians, and other anti-PC dissidents have disappeared from their timelines.
This troubling news comes shortly after Twitter leadership announced an Orwellian “Trust and Safety Council,” which is stacked with leftist anti-speech activists. Instead of groups like the Electronic Freedom Foundation or the Cato Institute, the council invited Feminist Frequency and the Dangerous Speech Project. The latter organizations lead the growing movement to silence politically incorrect thought on campuses and online.
I close the interview with a discussion of FCC Commissioner Ajai Pai’s warning to freedom lovers everywhere:
“The text of the First Amendment is enshrined in our Constitution, but there are certain cultural values that undergird the amendment that are critical for its protections to have actual meaning. If that culture starts to wither away, then so too will the freedom that it supports.”