It is bad, but I’m not sure it is the worst threat to free speech. In fact, if you aren’t a Twitter user you might not know what all the fuss is about.
If anyone asked me, I would say the worst threat is the kind of silencing that people like South Dakota’s Taneeza Islam use when they bully venues to shut down speaking events she and her ilk disapprove of by frightening owners/managers in to cancelling events. And, often frighten speakers in to silence.
That kind of intimidation is mean and personal and causes people to fear for their safety.
In America we have a right to speak and we have a right to gather!
That said, let’s talk more about the stunning revelations this week from James O’Keefe who got the dirt on Twitter and shadow-banning—a less personal, but nonetheless serious threat to free speech.
And, it isn’t just about Twitter! Shadow-banning can be used in all sorts of situations where social media is taking the pulse of citizens’ views, as we mentioned when we talked about shadow-banning possibly being used by the Heritage Foundation, here.
Breitbart (Twitter Censorship!) has a good explanation here, but simply put this is how it works:
You post a comment, or tweet something, and you can see on your computer screen that the comment posted and you think your remark is being seen by the world, but no one else sees it but you!
As Breitbart says, the very best, most skillful, shadow-banning is when you are never the wiser about the fact that you are speaking to an audience of one!
Here is CNS News on Brent Bozell’s comments on O’Keefe’s latest :
Twitter’s practice of “shadow banning” conservative posts, exposed Thursday in a new James O’Keefe undercover video, constitutes “the most sinister threat to free speech in history,” Media Research President Brent Bozell warns in a statement reacting to the news.
The Project Veritas video, featuring current and former Twitter employees describing the social media giant’s shadow banning censorship tactics, prompted the previously-skeptical Bozell to issue a warning to all Americans:
“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.”
I’ve been shadow-banned by Twitter on a couple of occasions (maybe more times than I know before I caught on!), so now I am wise to them!
Without getting too deep in to the weeds and techie details, here is what I have found and what I do.
After each tweet that I consider important, I check the feed for my tweets and the analytics which is where each tweet is recorded and statistics are gathered. If it is missing there, I quickly go to the tweet on my screen (before it is lost in hundreds of new incoming tweets) and get a screenshot.
Then I do this as I did yesterday when I tweeted about the President’s supposed comments on certain countries.
I bring attention to the fact that Twitter shadow-banned me and I put a screenshot of the original tweet into a new tweet. Like this…
If you are on Twitter, follow me (@RefugeeWatcher). I tweet a lot of information that I have no time to write about in a post here at RRW. And, you can see what I’m tweeting in the right hand side bar when you visit my blog directly.
This post is filed in my “free speech” category and in “blogging.”