It took a loyal reader/follower of mine to let me know that my posts were not being displayed under the “#copolitics” tag on Twitter. To be honest, I was actually surprised. I saw the logic behind banning certain accounts for violent rhetoric, etc. or “hate speech.” I had heard about the shadow banning, but I was still hesitant to believe that it was occurring to everyone who called themselves a “conservative” on their profile. At first, I thought it was only occurring to prominent accounts, like political pundit Roger Stone’s account being banned, or Milo Yiannopoulos. The evidence against my account was obvious: when searching the #copolitics hashtag under “latest posts,” I could clearly see my tweet was not listed. Another user suggested turning the “Quality Filter” off. Sure enough, I could see my post. The user also let me know that the filter defaults to “on” on every search automatically, so a user would always be forced to be decisive about their search, a setting most would likely ignore.
What does Twitter define as good quality? Where is it in their user agreement? After reviewing the user agreement, I could not find anything that specifically mentions “good” or “bad” quality when it comes to user tweets/posts. One must question the legality of such actions against a user, especially if there is a definitive bias in its enforcement.
After testing the filter firsthand, there is a clear bias involved in the enforcement of the “quality filter.” The #copolitics hashtag is largely considered the main forum for Colorado politics. When viewing it with the filter on, one could easily see the majority of posts are of liberal topics by liberal authors. Since then, a collection of conservative twitter users have clearly shown that conservative twitter users are being marked as “low quality” so that their posts do not show up in the #copolitics forum.
As Twitter moves forward on its technocratic agenda, the American political structure has mirrored that of the system in the dystopian novel, 1984. One could argue that our system is much more advanced than the one Winston Smith experienced in Oceania. When Twitter categorizes posts and tells us what is decent and what is not, Twitter is effectively playing the role of puppet master over the natural order of all things. Mankind has an inherent right to freedom of speech, as long as it does not threaten the physical well being of anyone. Political discourse must exist in an open environment. In reality, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Myspace and all public forums like them, are no different than the air we breathe every day. These institutions serve as a medium—when that medium is manipulated and controlled, mankind is no longer free.
The only solution to this type of technocratic fascism is to find other forums to communicate on. WordPress allows bloggers to post anything and everything, as well as helping you design a completely custom website. GAB is identical to Twitter, although it tends to attract a demographic that solely leans right politically. We cannot simply communicate on platforms that represent internet ghettos where freedom of speech is ignored. We must create, and support those who are creating. We must branch out and unleash the human spirit in every communicative form that exists, whether that is simply talking to each other or using old fashion print in the form of books, handouts, and letters.
As this story continues to be investigated, we will update the report if we find evidence that liberals are also being censored, however we have yet to see any evidence of the sort.